Why are customers holding onto their PCs for longer?

Worldwide combined shipments of devices, including PCs, tablets and mobiles, are expected to decline by one per cent in 2015.

New data comes from analyst Gartner, reporting that shipments are expected to reach 2.4 billion units in 2015, a one per cent decline from 2014 and down from the previous quarter’s forecast of 1.5 per cent growth.

This news comes as no surprise, as more and more customers have revealed that they are reluctant to replace old devices with new ones, and are keeping their older PCs for much longer.

Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, said: “Replacement activity across all types of devices has decreased.

"Users are extending the lifetime of their devices, or deciding not to replace their devices at all."

The reason? A number of factors. PCs are more affordable and more powerful than ever, meaning they are lasting longer with fewer problems – causing customers to hold onto them for longer. 

There is a wide variety of products to choose from on the market – a tablet, smartphone, desktop and maybe laptop or hybrid, meaning customers could be choosing one type and sticking to it. 

The other factor is of course the economy – customers won’t want to make several large payouts for new computing devices if their older ones work just fine.

In contrast to the computing sector, mobile phone shipments are expected to increase by 1.4 per cent in 2015, while smartphone shipments are estimated to increase by 14 per cent.

"By 2017, we estimate mobile phone shipments will reach the two billion mark, and smartphones will represent 89 per cent of the market," added Annette Zimmermann, research director at Gartner.

Now that Apple has just announced the launch of its new iPhone models, including the 6S and 6S Plus, and Samsung also unveiling its latest flagship Galaxy smartphone, the sector is as competitive as ever, so it’s no wonder that the smartphone sector is expected to see an increase.

The PC market has continued to struggle over the past few months, and Gartner has revealed that the PC shipment market is expected to total 291 million units in 2015, a decline of 7.3 per cent year-on-year.

Atwal commented: “Until the end of 2015, currency devaluation and subsequent price increases will continue to restrain the replacement of ultramobiles premium and notebooks by businesses in particular.

"In 2016, we expect currency impacts will negate and while Windows 10 products on the Intel Skylake platform will increase in volumes throughout the year, Windows 10 adoption among businesses will ramp sharply in 2017, where we expect the PC market to return to a four per cent growth."

In addition, the ultramobile market (tablets and clamshells) is also set to contract in 2015. Shipments are expected to total 199 million so says Gartner, which is a decrease of 12 per cent year-on-year.

Zimmermann continued: “The tablet market is coming under increasing pressure. Users of tablets with a screen size between seven and eight inches are increasingly not replacing their devices.”

It looks like the rest of 2015 may be quite tough, now that consumers are choosing to hold on to their devices for longer, but now that more devices are bursting into the market, including Amazon’s latest budget £50 Fire tablet, soon the PC market may start to reinvigorate itself.

Gartner also revealed that worldwide IT spending across vertical industries is forecast to total $2.69 trillion in 2015, a 3.5 per cent decrease from 2014, while spending on information security will reach $75.4 billion in 2015.

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