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2-in-1 devices could save the dwindling PC market long term, says IDC

But for now, global PC shipments for 2013 are worse than expected
Tue Dec 03 2013, 16:13
Acer R7 Windows 8 convertible

GLOBAL PC SHIPMENTS will decline worse than first expected in 2013, analyst outfit IDC has said, as smartphones and tablets continue to dominate the consumer technology market.

"Worldwide PC shipments are expected to fall by -10.1 percent in 2013, slightly below the previous projection of -9.7 percent, and by far the most severe yearly contraction on record," IDC said in its Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker report.

However, the analyst firm thinks 2-in-1 Windows powered devices could prevent a complete crash of the market.

Total shipments are expected to decline by an additional -3.8 percent in 2014 but are expected to turn "slightly positive" in the longer term thanks to convertible and hybrid "two-in-one" devices, IDC said,

At these rates, total PC shipments will remain just above 300 million during the forecast, barely ahead of 2008 volumes. Even in emerging markets - primary growth engines of the PC market - shipments are projected to decline in 2014 and recover by only a few percent during the forecast.

When comparing the consumer and commercial markets, IDC said that the latter is faring notably better than the consumer market in 2013, with shipments declining by -5 percent year over year compared to nearly -15 percent in the consumer market.

"The relative stability is due to a mix of more stable PC investment planning, a smaller impact from tablets, and to replacements of Windows XP systems before the end of support planned for 2014," IDC explained.

However, IDC claimed that the long term outlook for the two markets is not significantly different, with a small decline projected for both consumer and commercial segments in 2014 and nearly flat growth in the longer term.

"Perhaps the chief concern for future PC demand is a lack of reasons to replace an older system," said IDC senior research analyst Jay Chou.

"While IDC research finds that the PC still remains the primary computing device - for example, PCs are used more hours per day than tablets or phones - PC usage is nonetheless declining each year as more devices become available."

Chou said that despite effort by the industry, PC usage has not moved significantly beyond consumption and productivity tasks to differentiate PCs from other devices. "As a result, PC lifespans continue to increase, thereby limiting market growth," he added.

On the other hand, IDC said it believes that the emergence of 2-in-1 Windows powered devices - which are designed to function in both clamshell and tablet configurations - will provide some new volume for the Windows operating system as well as the PC vendors and other parts of the traditional PC ecosystem in the coming years. µ

 

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