It's a good time to be Samsung and Apple, according to Gartner's latest device market forecast. Even PC makers have reason to be optimistic, despite to mobile-obsessed marketplace.
The analyst firm expects shipments of PCs, smartphones and tablets to remain essentially flat this year compared to 2016. Unit shipments will to surpass 2.326 billion by the end of 2017, a 0.3 percent drop compared to last year when vendors supplied 2.332 billion units.
The PC market will continue its persistent decline this year, with shipments of 262 million units, a three-percent shortfall compared to the 270 million PCs shipped last year. Looking ahead, the situation doesn't look as dire; Gartner expects the market to turn around in 2018 (267 million units) and 2019 (272 million units).
Meanwhile, smartphone vendors keep raking in tech buyers' dollars.
Gartner expects smartphone shipments to grow five percent to approximately 1.6 billion units once 2017 is all said and done. Samsung and its successful launch of the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus earlier this year have not only helped buyers forget about last year's fire-prone Note 7, they are paving the way for a stronger premium smartphone sales.
"The Samsung S8 and S8 Plus have had a strong impact so far in 2017, with users undeterred by battery issues that affected the Note 7 at the end of 2016. This good start points to a rebound for Samsung," said Roberta Cozza, a research director at Gartner, in a statement.
Of course, all eyes are on the Apple's 10th anniversary iPhone, which is expected to include a slew of new innovations from the leading device maker.
"Continued premium smartphone growth in 2017 will also be highly dependent on the forthcoming anniversary edition of Apple's iPhone, which should bring more-drastic feature and design upgrades than the last few iterations," Cozza continued. "Recent announcements from Apple indicate that some new technologies and functionalities may also appear in the next iPhone in areas like augmented reality and improved machine learning."
The budget smartphone category is expected to grow 6.8 percent to a record 686 million units this year, as premium features and designs trickle down. Chinese vendors are particularly adept at producing inexpensive yet desirable smartphones, luring cost-conscious buyers away from basic cellphones and pricey flagship phones.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.