The number of PCs, smartphones and tablets in use worldwide is expected to increase to 6.2 billion in 2021, boosted by the shift to remote working.
Gartner predicts that 125 million more devices will be used next year compared to this year, with the desire for more flexible form factors fueling a recovery in the smartphone market while accelerating the long-term decline of desktops.
Longer term, these trends will see the figure reach 6.4 billion by 2022.
The smartphone industry had been hit by the pandemic due to economic and production issues that had caused supply issues and lower demand. The number of smartphones in use fell 2.6 percent to 4.29 billion in 2020, but the global installed base is expected to grow to 4.32 billion next year and 4.45 billion in 2022.
The integration of personal and professional life, the greater availability of 5G handsets and a general return of consumer confidence are all contributing factors to this increase.
“Connectivity is already an issue for many users who work remotely. But as mobility returns to the workforce, the need to equip employees who can work anywhere with the right tools will be critical, ”said Ranjit Atwal, senior research director at Gartner. “The demand for laptops and other 4G / 5G connected devices will increase as the business case increases.”
However, the office closure saw the number of desktops in use drop significantly, from 552 million in 2019 to 522 million last year. Even after the pandemic is over, many companies will adopt long-term flexible or hybrid work practices that will further reduce demand. Gartner predicts that there will be 495 million desktops in 2021 and 470 million in 2022. At the same time, the number of laptops and tablets will increase by 8.8% and 11.7%.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has permanently changed the ways in which employee and consumer devices are used,” Atwal added. “As remote work turns to hybrid work, home schooling turns to digital education, and interactive games move to the cloud, the types and number of devices people need, own and use will continue to increase. ”