AI, VPAs Fail to Drive PC, Smartphone Demand: Gartner

by CXOtoday News Desk    Jul 05, 2017

pc demand

Sales of PCs, mobile phones and tablets are stagnating, Gartner warned today, blaming market saturation and slower innovation. Even new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual personal assistants (VPAs) and other new capabilities are failing to drive this market, said the research firm which predicts that sales will remain flat at 2.32 billion units until 2018, when they will increase to 2.35 billion units.

“The global devices market is stagnating. Mobile phone shipments are only growing in emerging Asia/Pacific markets, and the PC market is just reaching the bottom of its decline,” said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.

“As well as declining shipment growth for traditional devices, average selling prices are also beginning to stagnate because of market saturation and a slower rate of innovation.”

PCs sold 219 million units in 2016, but are expected to sell just 205 million in 2017, 198 million in 2018, and 193 million the year after. Devices like Apple’s MacBook Pro and Microsoft’s Surface range, will eat up some of the ailing PC demand, with sales rising 24% to 61 million units in 2017, according to Gartner’s predictions.

But while emerging markets are quicker to replace their smartphones, as these devices function as their primary means of computing, mature markets take longer, the research firm states. Therefore Gartner believes that while mobile phone sales will increase from 1.88 billion in 2016 to 1.89 billion in 2017, and 1.92 billion in 2018, most of that growth will be driven by demand from new markets.

Meanwhile, VR and voice assistants are expected to drive future device growth even though it is difficult to see any revolutionary impact in early iterations. Atwal said, “Consumers have fewer reasons to upgrade or buy traditional devices. They are seeking fresher experiences and applications in emerging categories such as head mounted displays (HMDs), virtual personal assistant (VPA) speakers and wearables.”

In order to meet that demand, hardware vendors may need to partner with service providers offering those kinds of functions. “As service-led approaches become even more crucial, hardware providers will have to partner with service providers, as they lack the expertise to deliver the service offerings themselves,” said Atwal.