Analyst firm predicts mobile phone market to drive modest increase in end-user spending.

Global device shipments will remain broadly flat at 2.34 billion this year, predicted Gartner on Thursday.

The analyst firm expects mobile handset shipments to inch up to 1.91 billion from 1.89 billion, while the computing device market, which includes PCs, laptops, tablets, etc., is expected to fall to 426 million from 439 million.

On the upside though, the analyst firm expects end-user spending on devices to inch up 2% year-on-year, driven by component price increases in the PC market, and demand for higher-quality mobile phones.

"Across the world, the device market is becoming less price-sensitive," said Gartner research director Ranjit Atwal. "Consumers and businesses are seeking better products that suit their lifestyles, rather than just opting for the cheapest products."

Gartner predicts global end-user spending on devices to grow to $599.13 billion (€561.74 billion) in 2017 from $587.20 billion in 2016.

Spending on PCs, laptops and tablets is expected to fall to $199.64 billion from $204.34 billion; however, that will be offset by mobile phone spending, which will grow to $399.50 billion from $382.86 billion, Gartner said.

"The increased ASP (average selling price) for mobile phones was driven by users across the board," said Annette Zimmermann, research vice president at Gartner.

"They are replacing their basic phones with better-quality and more feature-rich basic phones, due to improved product portfolios from rising vendors such as Huawei and Oppo. In emerging markets, the majority of users are upgrading to better basic phones as the leap to premium phones remains out of reach for most," she said.

"We expect users to continue to look for higher-value phones this year, which will lead to another rise in ASP," Zimmermann continued. "The high-end smartphone ASP will continue to soar, given the announcement of the Samsung Galaxy 8 and the release of the tenth-anniversary Apple iPhone later this year."

Looking further ahead, Gartner expects worldwide device spending to climb to $627.16 billion by 2019, but shipments will grow more slowly to 2.38 billion.