IDC: PC Markets Continue To Struggle, Seek Stability - InformationWeek

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IDC: PC Markets Continue To Struggle, Seek Stability

Global PC shipments will fall 7.3% year-over-year in 2016, with smaller declines to come in 2017, according to new numbers from IDC.

9 Detachable Tablets To Replace Your PC
9 Detachable Tablets To Replace Your PC
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Global PC markets continue to grapple for stability amid consistent decline, according to new data from the IDC Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. Shipments are predicted to fall 7.3% year-over-year in 2016.

Conditions for this year are weaker than expected and causing further decline in a fragile market. First-quarter growth for PC shipments totaled -12.5%, which was lower than IDC's expected -11.3% growth. As a result, growth for the year is expected to fall 2% below initial expectations.

There are several factors inhibiting market expansion. IDC cites weak currencies, political uncertainty, depressed commodity prices, and delayed projects as a few issues plaguing PCs.

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The PC market continues to weaken even as competitive pressure has eased. Growth rates for smartphones and tablets have also continued to fall, but the lack of competition has not resulted in greater PC sales.

Instead, it seems people are holding back on their spending overall. Consumers are under financial pressure and opting to delay new PC purchases by upgrading to Windows 10 for free or relying on other devices.

What about business customers? IDC noted that while several enterprises are considering upgrades to Windows 10 they are not investing in new PCs at a pace that would stabilize the commercial PC market.

However, PCs are performing better among businesses than among consumers. The consumer segment is expected to experience another year of double-digit declines in 2016 and into the future. Commercial shipments are projected to fall 4.4% in 2016 with slightly positive growth in coming years, IDC found.

Traditional PCs are threatened by hybrid devices, which are proving a source of competition and driving growth in the market. With detachable tablets thrown into the mix, the PC market is expected to fall by a little more than 2% in 2016 and benefit from slight positive growth in coming years.

Market research firm Canalys noted a similar pattern in the decline of tablets and the rise of detachables. Consumers are turning away from tablets, which are plummeting in sales, in favor of hybrids. Two-in-one devices saw greater than 13% growth during the first quarter of 2016.

Canalys experts warned that unless tablet vendors debut new features and capabilities, shipments will continue to fall.

(Image: ThamKC/iStockphoto)

(Image: ThamKC/iStockphoto)

"The tablet boom has faded in the distance and the market is fully mature," said senior analyst Tim Coulling in a statement. "Global shipment declines are expected to continue unless vendors bring transformational innovation to the market."

Overall, global PC shipments have been falling for an unusually long period of time. In IDC's latest report, experts acknowledge the industry is in serious trouble.

"We have now had four consecutive quarters of double-digit volume declines," said Loren Loverde, vice president of Worldwide Tracker Forecasting and PC Research at IDC. "This type of prolonged slump is unprecedented, and lowers the bar for some improvement going forward."

The PC market continues to face persistent challenges, Loverde noted. Improvement will come in the form of slower declines, at least for now.

Fortunately for PC makers, slower declines are expected. IDC's forecast anticipates increasingly smaller declines through 2017, with volume stabilizing in 2018.

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

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User Rank: Ninja
6/11/2016 | 12:54:51 PM
Windows 11?
Hardly surprising given the choices enterprises have in terms of what is already out there, costing out the upgrade, using virtual PCs which run on any box

Or maybe they are just waiting for Windows 11? 

MSFT upgrades and new operating systems ain't what they used to be -  WIN 95, XP, WIN 7 -- those three made sense. Win 8 was such a blunder, Win 10 was the only answer. Not much leadership here.


>> IDC noted that while several enterprises are considering upgrades to Windows 10 they are not investing in new PCs at a pace that would stabilize the commercial PC market.
User Rank: Strategist
6/10/2016 | 7:20:41 PM
Device components now satisfy former rapid-turnover markets for several years
Market analysts refer to consumers' unwillingness to spend, or the manufacturers lack of innovation, but in fact the components in PCs and smart phones have become powerful enough to justify holding onto to them longer. The size of memory and the power of processors is adequate for consumers for several years. We no longer have periodic upgrades to Windows driving the market the way they used to, either. 
Joe Stanganelli
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
6/10/2016 | 12:39:54 PM
PCs, tablets, hybrids/convertibles, and more
To be sure, laptops have become desktop replacements, tablets have become laptop replacements, and smartphones/phablets have long been substitutes for both (esp. among Gen. Y and Millennials).

Unfortunately, most of the hybrids/"convertibles" on the market today are consumer-grade.  If there was a good and cost-effective "convertible" that was enterprise grade on part with MSFT's Surface Pro, that would likely make it to my shopping list.

Or does someone have a hot tip on a good one?
Joe Stanganelli
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
6/10/2016 | 12:37:08 PM
Re: Predictions, predictions
@melgross: Indeed, data on the present and predictions for the future from analysts like Gartner, IDC, and so on often downright conflict with each other.  See, e.g., this roundup of competing IoT-device data and forecasts:
User Rank: Ninja
6/10/2016 | 10:04:32 AM
Predictions, predictions
Pay no attention to the predictions of Gardner and IDC. Neither are ever correct. According to them, PC sales should have begun growth three years ago. Nothing that's been happening is close to their predictions. I predict that PC sales will plummet about the same amount next year, and the year after that, because that's what's happening. I agree though, that tablet sales are falling. Apple, for example, is finding that it's iPad 2 is good enough for many people, and with them having supported it with the latest iOS update, there is little reason for many people to upgrade further. Interesting because that is the last non retina screen model. But this year, likely iOS 10 will drop it. It will be interesting to see what happens then.
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