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Gartner research: PCs, phones in use to reach 6.2bn units globally in 2021

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With the Covid-19 pandemic increasing use of devices, the number of mobile phones and PCs including laptops, desktops, and tablets in use globally will total 6.2 billion units in 2021, said Gartner on Thursday.

In 2021, 125 million more laptops and tablets are expected to be in use than in 2020.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has permanently changed device usage patterns of employees and consumers,” Ranjit Atwal, Senior Research Director at Gartner, said in a statement.

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“With remote work turning into hybrid work, home education changing into digital education and interactive gaming moving to the cloud, both the types and number of devices people need, have and use will continue to rise.”

In 2022, global devices installed base is on pace to reach 6.4 billion units, up 3.2 per cent from 2021, according to Gartner.

While the shift to remote work exacerbated the decline of desktop PCs, it boosted the use of tablets and laptops.

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In 2021, the number of laptops and tablets in use will increase 8.8 per cent and 11.7 per cent, respectively, while the number of deskbased PCs in use is expected to decline from 522 million in use in 2020 to about 470 million in use in 2022.

The report shows that users’ confidence is returning in the smartphone market.

Although the number of smartphones in use declined 2.6 per cent in 2020, smartphone installed base is on pace to return to growth with a 1 per cent increase in 2021, Gartner said.

“With more variety and choice, and lower-priced 5G smartphones to choose from, consumers have begun to either upgrade their smartphones or upgrade from feature phones,” said Atwal.

“The smartphone is also a key tool that people use to communicate and share moments during social distancing and social isolation.”

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