Mobile phone sales around the world will grow to an estimated 1.94 billion in 2015, up 3.5 percent from 2014, while global PC sales are expected to fall due to price increases caused by fluctuating currencies around the world, according to a new Gartner study.
Meanwhile, the combined shipments of PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones are estimated to hit 2.5 billion units in 2015, an increase of 2.8 percent from 2014, according to Gartner's figures. Global spending on computing devices such as PCs and ultramobiles is expected to hit $226 billion, down 7.2 percent from 2014.
"The fall in PC purchases is primarily due to expected price increases by vendors in Europe and other regions, which is forced by local currency depreciation against the dollar," Ranjit Atwal, a Gartner analyst, said in a statement. "The currency squeeze is forcing PC vendors to increase their prices in order to remain profitable and, as result, it is suppressing purchases. We expect businesses will delay purchases of new PCs, and consumers will delay or 'de-feature' their purchases."
This expected reduction in purchasing is not a downturn, said Atwal, but "it is a reshaping of the market driven by currency."
Mobile phone shipments worldwide, however, will continue their growth, the report continued. Mobile phones are the largest and most profitable segment of the global device market and are expected to grow by 3.5 percent in 2015, rising to 1.9 billion units, according to the report. "The presence of cheaper smartphones will continue to appeal to consumers, and counter the need to increase prices. Mobile phone pricing has been increasing over the last few years driven by a rising premium-phone average selling price, but now will remain flat or slightly down as the smartphone market reaches saturation over the next few years."
Mobile phones will also remain the devices to buy based on expected consumer purchases, said Roberta Cozza, another Gartner analyst, in a statement. "Consumers will continue to prioritize spending on phones over PCs and tablets in 2015," she said.
The Gartner estimates did not break sales down by operating systems in this study.
The research did find that an increasing percentage of users of high-end Android devices are expected to move to Apple's iOS devices in 2015, according to the report. "Android vendors at the high end are finding it hard to differentiate and add value beyond technology and features," Cozza said in a statement. "Furthermore, Apple's brand clout and ecosystem—alongside the new large-screen iPhone models—are strong alternatives."
Because of that strength, Gartner estimates that "despite Apple's premium price tags, the iOS base replacement cycle that started in the fourth quarter of 2014 with the larger iPhones will carry on into 2015," Cozza said.
In the ultramobile device segment, which includes tablets and clamshell computers, shipments are expected to total 237 million units in 2015, which is a 4.3 percent increase from 2014 levels, the report continued. "Following rapid growth, the current mature consumer installed base for tablets is comparable to that of notebooks," said Cozza. "Not only is the tablet segment nearing saturation in mature markets, but the influx of hybrids and phablets will compete directly with tablets in emerging markets."
In March 2014, Gartner projected global computing device sales of 2.5 billion units for that year, according to an earlier eWEEK report. The actual total was about 2.42 billion units, according to the company's latest figures.
In January of this year, Gartner estimated that worldwide tablet sales are expected to hit 233 million devices in 2015, up 8 percent from 2014, but down significantly from the past several years.