With 2.28 billion units shipped in 2017, the 2018 market for devices - PCs, tablets and mobile phones - is set to increase by 2.1 percent to 2.32 billion units. With the traditional PC market shipments set to decline by 5.4 percent from 2017 levels, the market growth looks to instead be driven by high-end smartphones and premium, ultramobile Apple and Windows 10 devices.

"Consumers have many technologies to choose from, which poses two main challenges for vendors. The first is to compete for wallet share, given how many devices consumers own. The second is to deliver value and maintain relevance - to offer the right device to the right audience," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner. "We will see more buyers focusing on value, rather than just price, and therefore considering higher-priced devices."

Worldwide Device Shipments by Device Type, 2016-2019 (Millions of Units)

Device Type

2016

2017

2018

2019

Traditional PCs (Desk-Based and Notebook)

220

204

193

187

Ultramobiles (Premium)

50

59

70

80

Total PC Market

270

262

264

267

Ultramobiles (Basic and Utility)

169

160

159

156

Computing Device Market

439

423

423

423

Mobile Phones

1,893

1,855

1,903

1,924

Total Device Market

2,332

2,278

2,326

2,347

Source: Gartner (January 2018)

Smartphone shipments are poised to grow the most in 2018, to represent 87 percent of total mobile phone sales on a 1.9 billion unit mobile phone market. "We expect Apple smartphone sales to grow by more than the market average in 2018, with the launch of new models fueling stronger replacement cycles," said Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner.

Further up the road, 2019 sees the introduction of 5G smartphones, with South Korea and the U.S. to spearhead its implementation. With its higher speeds, it's seen as a potential driver of video and streaming services and enabler of new AI applications. 5G is expected to penetrate the market at a moderate pace: "We predict that, by 2021, 9 percent of smartphones sold will support 5G," says Ms. Cozza.