Global shipments have fallen, but laptop  and tablet ownership remains strong at 1.5 billion units worldwide, according to new research from Strategy Analytics.

Global shipments of connected computing devices fell 4% over the last year, yet the installed base represents household penetration of just under one third (30%) worldwide, and 60-70% in many developed markets.

The reason for the continued strength in  laptop and tablet ownership despite the drop in shipments is that people are holding on to their devices longer and tend to spend less for replacements, according to company executives.

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“The industry is entering uncertain times as the installed base begins a slow decline after years of market contraction,” said David Mercer, Strategy Analytics vice president and principal analyst, in a prepared statement. “Enterprises are getting more flexible in how they deploy connected computing devices to help their employees become more productive and, generally, more mobile. Device manufacturers have done a good job of providing a diverse mix of form factors for enterprise, but consumers are not as impressed. New form factors, slimmer profiles, and beautiful designs all come at higher cost, which has been a major impediment to faster replacement rates as household electronics budgets are spread thinner every year.”

Global sales of connected computing devices will increase from 354 million units in 2018 to 403 million in 2022, while revenues will increase from $148 billion to $156 billion over the same period, according to Strategy Analytics.

“We expect penetration rates in most countries to rise over the next five years and there are a few dynamics at play here,” said Chirag Upadhyay, senior research analyst in a prepared statement. “Growing household income in many emerging markets will drive the sales of connected computing devices for entertainment and productivity needs. Secondly, replacement rates will rebound in developed markets as many devices are too old to handle modern demands and cannot keep up with the behavioral changes of both consumer and enterprise users. This includes cellular connected laptops, new ARM processor configurations, and more choice of OSes across all form factors.”

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