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Mobile To Become First Choice For Online Access

Mobile To Become First Choice For Online AccessGartner has forecast that by 2018 more than 50 per cent of users will go to a tablet or smartphone first for online access.

Users in emerging economies are adopting smartphones as their exclusive mobile devices, Gartner stated, while in developed economies, multi-device households are becoming the norm, with tablets growing at the fastest rate of any computing device.

“The use pattern that has emerged for nearly all consumers, based on device accessibility, is the smartphone first as a device that is carried when mobile, followed by the tablet that is used for longer sessions, with the PC increasingly reserved for more complex tasks,” commented Van Baker, Gartner research vice president.

“This behaviour will adapt to incorporate wearables as they become widely available for users. As voice, gesture and other modalities grow in popularity with consumers, and as content consumption tasks outweigh content creation tasks, this will further move users away from the PC.”

In line with the move to mobility, Gartner has forecast that by 2018 40 per cent of enterprises will specify Wi-Fi as the default connection for non-mobile devices, such as desktops, desk phones and projectors, which will be a more convenient solution than physical connections.

Aiding the mobile rush, Gartner has further predicted that by 2020 75 per cent of smartphone buyers will pay less than US$100 for a device.  

By 2018, 78 per cent of global smartphone sales will come from developing economies, with new buyers in these regions “rapidly transitioning to utility and basic smartphones”, helped by declining average selling prices.

The premium smartphone category, on the other hand, has reached “saturation levels”, as demand is mainly driven by replacement users and has begun to slow down.

By 2018, Gartner expects the average selling price for a basic and a utility phone to be US$78 and US$25, respectively, while some low-cost smartphones are expected to reach approximately US$35 unsubsidised by year-end 2014 (compared with the US$50 lowest entry-level smartphones seen in 2013).

This in turn is making an impact on the competitive landscape of smartphone vendors, with Chinese brands rapidly growing market share and putting pressure on the tier 1 vendors.

As feature phones decline, and data use expands in the developing economies, smartphone needs will expand, but only as prices permit, Gartner stated, adding that in the developing markets high-end smartphone shipments are expected to slow down “as the enhanced features of those phones have less and less mainstream value to most buyers”.   

Another factor is subsidies or sponsorships reducing the cost of devices, with Gartner stating, as the mobile phone becomes more and more of the “on-ramp” for purchases and the mainstream method for making payments, subsidies and sponsorships should increase.