Gartner: Tablet Sales Forecast Revised Down, Smartphones Up

Managed service providers (MSPs) can expect an increase in worldwide device spending in 2013, making mobile device management (MDM) strategies even more important. Information technology research and advisory company Gartner (NYSE: IT) reported that device spending will reach $666 billion in 2013, up 6.3 percent from 2012. But that forecast is still lower than the one Gartner initially offered. Here's what's going on with mobile devices.

Gartner's device forecast includes PCs, tablets, mobile phones and printers. Even though Gartner's forecast reflects an increase from the previous year, this projected increase is still a significant reduction in the outlook for 2013 compared with Gartner's previous forecast of $706 billion in worldwide devices and 7 to 9 percent growth. In addition, the firm's long-term forecast for worldwide spending on devices has been reduced, with "growth from 2012 through 2016 now expected to average 4.5 percent annually in current U.S. dollars (down from 6.4 percent) and 5.1 percent annually in constant dollars (down from 7.4 percent)."

But some devices are set for stronger growth than others. Gartner said these reductions in device spending reflect a sharp drop in the forecast growth in spending on PCs and tablets. That drop is only  partially offset by marginal increases in forecast growth in spending on mobile phones and printers.

"The tablet market has seen greater price competition from Android devices as well as smaller, low-priced devices in emerging markets," said Richard Gordon, managing vice president at Gartner, in a prepared statement. "It is ultimately this shift toward relatively lower-priced tablets that lowers our average selling prices forecast for 2012 through 2016, which in turn is responsible for slowing device spending growth in general, and PC and tablet spending growth in particular."

Gartner has also projected an increase in worldwide enterprise software spending. The firm expects software spending to total $296 billion in 2013, a 6.4 percent increase from 2012. The increase will be driven by key markets such as security, storage management, and customer relationship management, however, don't expect these markets to be in front for long.

Beginning in 2014, Gartner projected that markets aligned to big data and other information management initiatives, such as enterprise content management, data integration tools, and data quality tools will begin to see increased levels of investment.

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