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The latest research reports show that PC sales are tanking. Smartphone sales fell for the first time in 14 years. And corporate CFOs are planning to invest in technologies for digital transformation.

Here’s your tech provider’s update.

PCs: dropping

Things aren’t looking good for the overall PC market, according to industry watcher IDC. It now predicts the overall PC market will decline by 1.8% a year through 2022.

Last year was even worse. IDC says global unit shipments of all PC devices — including desktops, notebooks, workstations and both slate and detachable tablets — fell in 2017 by 2.7%.

Looking ahead, IDC predicts:

> Sales of traditional PCs will contact by a -0.9% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) from 2017 to 2022. Volumes will drop from 259.4 million units in 2017 to 248.3 million in 2022.

> Detachable tablets — what most of the world calls 2-in-1s — will grow by a very slight 0.1% CAGR during those same years.

> Slate tablet sales will drop by a -6.2% CAGR from 2017 to 2022, falling from 423.2 million units to a projected 385.7 million.

It’s not all bad news, however. IDC expects sales of both gaming systems and Chromebooks to remain strong.

Smartphones: falling  

In last year’s fourth quarter, smartphone unit sales worldwide declined for the first time since 2004, according to research and advisory firm Gartner.

A total of nearly 408 million smartphones were shipped worldwide in Q4:17, Gartner says, and that was 5.6% fewer than shipped in the year-earlier quarter.

What’s behind this seismic drop? Two factors, Gartner explains:

> Upgrades from feature phones to smartphones have slowed. That, in turn, is due to a shortage of what Gartner calls “ultra-low-cost” smartphones.

> Buyers of replacement smartphones are choosing high-quality devices and keeping them longer.

Given those trends, it makes sense that Android remains the world’s most popular smartphone OS by a long shot. Because Android phones are generally much cheaper than Apple’s.

During Q4:17, Android was the OS on 86% of all smartphones shipped worldwide, Gartner says. By comparison, Apple’s iOS accounted for just 14% of shipments in the quarter.

CFOs: investing

Nearly 70% of chief financial officers and other senior finance execs plan to increase their spending on technologies that speed business change, finds a new survey conducted by tax and audit advisory Grant Thornton and CFO Research.

Increased spending is good. But by how much? More than 10%, say 40% of the CFOs.

Competition is the main driver, the survey found. Just over 40% of respondents said they’re investing in IT to create market-leading differentiation.

That’s a sharp contrast from the past. Until recently, CFOs invested in IT mainly to either increase operational efficiencies or cut costs. Now they’re looking at competitive drivers, such as improving the customer experience.

Which digital-transformation technologies are they investing in?

> Data analytics: It’s already being adopted by 24% of respondents.

> Robotics: 20% of CFOs said they expect to adopt robotics in the next 5 years.

Other technologies on the CFOs’ spending list include machine learning, distributed ledger, robotic process automation and optical character recognition.

For the survey, Grant Thornton and CFO Research obtained responses from more than 300 CFOs and financial leaders.


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