The Coronavirus pandemic will trigger a 14 percent decline in PC, tablet, and phone sales this year, Gartner claims.
“The forecasted decline in the PC market in particular could have been much worse,” Gartner senior research director Ranjit Atwal said in a prepared statement. “However, government lockdowns due to COVID-19 forced businesses and schools to enable millions of people to work from home and increase spending on new notebooks, Chromebooks, and tablets for those workers. Education and government establishments also increased spending on those devices to facilitate e-learning.”
The shortfall will vary by device type, Gartner says. Sales of traditional PCs—both desktops and notebook PCs—will fall by about 13.5 percent, from 193.1 million units in 2019 to 169.6 million in 2020. And sales of premium ultra-mobiles will fall 5.7 percent, from 70 million units in 2019 to 65.5 million in 2020. Overall, PC sales will fall 10.5 percent this year, from 262.7 million units in 2019 to 235.2 million.
“Shipments of notebooks, tablets, and Chromebooks are forecast to decline slower than the PC market overall in 2020,” Gartner notes.
Sales of ultra-mobiles—the category into which Gartner lumps tablets and Chromebooks—is expected to fall by 7.43 percent, from 144 million units in 2019 to 133.3 million this year. And mobile phone sales, meanwhile, are expected to shrink 14.6 percent, from 2.16 billion units in 2019 to 1.87 billion units this year. “Smartphone shipments will achieve a slightly slower decline of 13.7 percent year over year to total 1.3 billion units in 2020,” Gartner says. And “phone lifetimes will extend from 2.5 years in 2018 to 2.7 years in 2020.”
These are just predictions, of course, and I’d prefer to compare these figures to IDC’s estimates. But it’s still an interesting peek at where this year may land. And if roughly accurate, I’m a bit surprised it’s not worse.