Worldwide shipments of devices including PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones are expected to grow in 2016 despite a dip in end-user spending, according to a new report from Gartner.
Shipments of mobile phones are expected to increase by 49 million units to nearly 1.96 billion units in 2016, for a forecast increase of 2.6 percent. Though shipments of traditional PCs and basic ultramobile devices like the Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 and Nexus 7 are expected to decrease slightly in 2016, overall device shipments are expected to grow 1.9 percent to 2.4 billion units, the report said.
For the first time, overall user device spending in U.S. dollars is forecast to decline 0.5 percent despite an expected 1.2 percent growth in mobile phone spending.
Gartner’s report also forecast a trend toward basic smartphones that offer quality features without a premium price.
“We are witnessing a shift to basic phones in the smartphone market,” Gartner research director Roberta Cozza said. “Users are also opting to replace within the basic smartphone category without necessarily moving to high-end smartphones, especially in China and some other emerging markets.”
Thanks in-part to these lower-priced smartphones, Gartner has estimated that 82 percent of mobile phones will be smartphones by the end of 2016, compared to 12 percent in 2015.
In 2016, Cozza said, it will be key for smartphone makers to set themselves apart from the pack.
“At (Mobile World Congress) 2016, a number of Android vendors will, as usual, release the next generation of their smartphone flagships,” Cozza said. “We’ll hopefully see an increased focus on differentiation by enabling unique, but relevant experiences, expansion to new functionalities and better tie to key app and service ecosystems.”