The PC market is forecast to return to growth next year according to Gartner, as buyers come to the end of their evaluation periods for Windows 10.
Worldwide PC shipments are expected to hit 267 million units in 2018, a 1.9 per cent increase on 2017, when shipments are forecast to reach 262 million. By 2019, shipments are pegged to hit 272 million units.
This year's PC sales are however expected to fall yet again for the sixth consecutive year, with shipments dropping three per cent when compared with 2016.
According to Gartner, further adoption of Windows 10, as PC buyers come to the end of their evaluation periods, and a higher need for security will drive PC shipments.
"PC buyers continue to put quality and functionality ahead of price," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.
"Many organisations are coming to the end of their evaluation periods for Windows 10, and are now increasing the speed at which they adopt new PCs as they see the clear benefits of better security and newer hardware."
Elsewhere, smartphone shipments will also continue to grow at a healthy rate, the market watcher claims. Shipments are expected to grow 5 per cent year on year to nearly 1.6 billion units in 2017. Gartner claims that the market is experiencing a shift away from low-cost "utility" phones, towards higher-priced "basic" and "premium" smartphone devices.
"Overall, the shipment growth of the device market is steady for the first time in many years," said Atwal. "PC shipments are slightly lower while phone shipments are slightly higher — leading to a slight downward revision in shipments from the previous forecast."
Additionally, emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and virtual personal assistances are failing to capture the imaginations of end users, according to Gartner. The market watcher claims that the technologies will undoubtedly grow in adoption in the coming years, but will not have a "revolutionary" impact on the market as a whole.
"Today, the user experience with new technologies such as artificial intelligence and virtual personal assistants is too often below the standard found in the rest of the device, and the cost to raise the standard quickly is prohibitive, relative to the benefits," Atwal.
"In the near term, the device market will continue to be driven by incremental advances in traditional technology, but, looking three or four years ahead, the device market will begin to see very significant shifts in both usage patterns and form factors, especially as 5G wireless technology is introduced."
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