Gartner: 90% of Mobiles Will be Smartphones by 2018

Tablet growth has slowed enough this year that these products will represent 9.5% of all devices worldwide. Consumers are looking at alternative devices like hybrids and phablets, as well as holding on to their existing tablets for longer.

According to Gartner, tablet sales will reach 229 million units globally in 2014: a 11% YoY increase. Sales were up 55% between 2012 and 2013. Combined shipments of all devices (PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones) will reach 2.4 billion units, up 3.2% YoY.

Basic ultramobile sales – iPads and Android tablets – have slowed down in 2014, while current tablets are now being used for three years or more. Gartner has forecast that the number of new tablet purchasers will fall by 90 million between now and 2018, while 155 million fewer tablet replacements will be sold. Hybrid device sales are rising, though, with share increasing to 22% this year and 32% by 2018.

The mobile phone segment will continue to grow in 2014 due to rising low-end smartphone sales. Basic models (including mid-range Android products) are expected to see a 52% increase in sales this year, while ‘utility’ smartphones (including whitebox devices from China) will double. As these devices grow more popular and smartphone prices fall, Gartner expects 90% of mobile phones to be smartphones by 2018.

In 2014, Gartner predicts a 71% smartphone market share, up 17 percentage points from 2013. Android and iOS have continued to increase their market share, making it difficult for other operating systems to get a hold.

Emerging markets are an attractive proposition for Android; Gartner expects Android shipments to rise 47% this year, and exceed 1 billion units in emerging regions next year. Apple’s iOS share will continue to be driven by its new devices targeting the premium market.