Gartner: PC shipments to bottom out, smartphone sales to increase by only 7% in 2016

Gartner Inc., a company which measures technology records and insights, has published a new report predicting the course of device sales over the next couple of years. While the company claims that 2016 is the year when PC sales will bottom out, it also estimates that smartphone sales will increase by only 7%.

The report estimates that combined shipment of devices can be expected to reach 2.4 billion units in 2016, which is a 0.6% increase from the previous year. But perhaps, the most important thing to note is that the PC market will finally bottom out in 2016, seeing an upward trend in subsequent years. In 2016, the PC market is expected to decline to 284 million units sold, compared to 289 million in 2015, but then rise to 306 million by 2018.

Gartner also predicts that while smartphone sales in emerging markets will continue to grow, this will happen at a slower pace. According to the company, this is evident from statistics given that this will be the first time that the smartphone market will exhibit only a single digit-growth. Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner went on to say that:

The double-digit growth era for the global smartphone market has come to an end. Historically, worsening economic conditions had negligible impact on smartphone sales and spend, but this is no longer the case. China and North America smartphone sales are on pace to be flat in 2016, exhibiting a 0.7 per cent and 0.4 per cent growth respectively.

The report explains that through 2019, more than 150 million users will delay smartphone upgrades in emerging markets until device functionality and prices become more attractive. However, in India, smartphone sales are anticipated to continue double-digit growth for the next two years. With that being said, analysts still predict a decline in European, North American and Japanese markets stating that:

As carriers' deals become more complex, users are likely to hold onto phones, especially as the technology updates become incremental rather than exponential. In addition, the volumes of users upgrading from basic phones to premium phones will slow, with more basic phones being replaced with the same type of phone.

Gartner also stated that smartphone vendors are also to blame for the slow growth as prices did not decrease significantly and the cost of a 'good enough to use' handset did not dip below $50.

Source: Gartner | Portrait of three girls chatting with their smartphones at the park image via Shutterstock

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