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IDC predicts continued PC slump, tablet dominance

IDC predicts continued PC slump, tablet dominance

IDC's reports claim that tablets will overtake traditional PCs in shipment volumes by 2015, while the PC market will continue to shrink for years to come.

Industry watcher International Data Corporation (IDC) has warned that the PC market is going to get worse before it gets better, predicting that desktop shipments will continue to fall right through to 2017.

In the company's most recent report, the market analyst claims that it predicts worldwide PC shipments to fall by almost 8 per cent by the end of the year - a significant of its earlier prediction of a 1.3 per cent decline. Those figures will continue to slip, albeit at a slower pace, until 2017 when the company's forecasts end - at which point worldwide desktop PC shipments will have dropped to a predicted 123.9 million from 2012's recorded 148.3 million.

'As the market develops, usage patterns and devices are evolving,' claimed Loren Loverde, programme vice president in charge of the quarterly PC tracker report at IDC. 'Many users are realising that everyday computing, such as accessing the web, connecting to social media, sending emails, as well as using a variety of apps, doesn't require a lot of computing power or local storage. Instead, they are putting a premium on access from a variety of smaller devices with longer battery life, an instant-on function, and intuitive touch-centric interfaces. These users have not necessarily given up on PCs as a platform for computing when a more robust environment is needed, but this takes a smaller share of computing time, and users are making do with older systems.'

IDC's report sees a depressed overall market for both desktop and portable PCs - a taxonomic category which, in IDC's methodology, includes laptops and netbooks but does not include hand-held devices or tablet computers - right through to the end of its forecasts in 2017. According to the company's latest quarterly report, it predicts that desktop PC shipments will have declined year-on-year by a massive 9.3 per cent by the end of this year with the bulk of that loss sustained by what the company classifies as 'mature markets' - at 10.5 per cent - compared to emerging markets - at 8.7 per cent.

The market for portable computers is expected to have dropped by 6.7 per cent by the end of the year, but will show mild growth by 2017 with claims of a 3.6 per cent increase in shipments - contrasting with a 1.9 per cent dip for desktop machines.

The company's quarterly tablet tracker report, published contemporaneously with the PC tracker, extends IDC's support of an increasingly post-PC market with claims that shipments of tablets will surpass those of portable PCs by the end of the year - and, more surprisingly, surpass overall PC sales by the end of 2015. 'What started as a sign of tough economic times has quickly shifted to a change in the global computing paradigm with mobile being the primary benefactor,' claimed Ryan Reith, IDC's mobile programme manager, of his team's report.

'Tablets surpassing portables in 2013, and total PCs in 2015, marks a significant change in consumer attitudes about compute devices and the applications and ecosystems that power them. IDC continues to believe that PCs will have an important role in this new era of computing, especially among business users. But for many consumers, a tablet is a simple and elegant solution for core use cases that were previously addressed by the PC.'

IDC's figures suggest that tablets - defined by the company as all LCD- or OLED-based slate devices with screens of between 9" and 16" with or without removable keyboards, but not counting convertible devices with a non-removable keyboard like the Lenovo Yoga - will become the dominant computing device within the next two years, thanks to a steadily decreasing cost and the realisation by most users that you don't need a hex-core multi-gigahertz processor to browse Facebook and watch films.

The most popular tablets, IDC claims, will be sub-8" models, accounting for 55 per cent of the market by year's end and 57 per cent by 2017. The bulk of the remainder will be tablets in 8-11" screen sizes, with just 6 per cent of the market being made up of larger-format 11"-plus tablets by 2017.

'Apple's success in the education market has proven that tablets can be used as more than just a content consumption or gaming device,' claimed Jitesh Ubrani, IDC research analyst, of the report. 'These devices are learning companions, and as tablet prices continue to drop, the dream of having a PC for every child gets replaced with the reality that we can actually provide a tablet for every child.'

With traditional PC manufacturers continuing to struggle with a depressed market - and those who have a post-PC product line already in place, like Lenovo, holding their own - it's clear that the industry is going through a sea change that will likely result in some big names falling by the wayside should IDC's predictions prove true.

14 Comments

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holbob 29th May 2013, 12:26 Quote
I suppose desktop pc's will become the preserve of just gamers and office workstations in future, if they aren't already. Even pc gamers are moving more into the lounge and using large htpc cases. My girls are 8 and 10 and we would only consider a tablet now for them. They need to learn and master them if that is the way the world is going.
rollo 29th May 2013, 12:38 Quote
People will always need a pc, They just dont need to replace it every year as was the case in the passed.

Also does not take a genius to relise that tablets would dominate, they have been for a while now.
Flibblebot 29th May 2013, 12:51 Quote
The problem is that PCs are now so powerful, that there is no reason for people to upgrade every couple of years - a PC that is newer than 4-5 years old will be more than capable of performing the kind of tasks that 90% of users use their PCs for. Even if a PC has slowed down, a quick wipe and reinstall of Windows is all that's needed to perk a PC up.

Add to that the fact that tablets are so much easier to use and can do everything most people use their PCs for (with the possible exception of the Office apps), and you get the reason for the slump.

I wonder where IDC put the hybrid PC/tablet devices?
Gareth Halfacree 29th May 2013, 13:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flibblebot
I wonder where IDC put the hybrid PC/tablet devices?
It's in the article: if it has a removable keyboard then it's a tablet; if it has a fixed keyboard it's a PC, even if the screen swivels, slides or flips to form a tablet. Which means, I guess, that the Asus Transformer Slider and knockoffs thereof are tracked as PCs, unless the rule on "an Android tablet is not a PC" overrides the "if it has a non-removable keyboard, it's a portable PC."
thom804 29th May 2013, 13:17 Quote
This just in...

Tablets can sell by the BILLLLIIOOOONNNSSSS, but there will always be a place for PC's. Maybe a slight downturn will prompt the big manufacturers to start making PC's more enticing.

Myself, I have a tablet, smartphone and laptop but I would never carry out any serious work or gaming on anything other than a desktop pc. A view i'm sure i'm not alone in sharing.
proxess 29th May 2013, 13:36 Quote
Forget office workstations. In the future those will either be laptops (for convenience) or thin clients.
Even when I mention laptops, those in the future will be surface/surface pros or 12.9" iPads (lol... another .1" and it's a laptop).

PCs will be for gaming, and even for the majority of 'gamers' (playing 1 game doesn't make you a gamer tbh) will be mainly HTPCs. You'll also have your occasional hard core nerd with a tower (somewhere near bit-tech).
Woodspoon 29th May 2013, 13:53 Quote
How many times has this been proclaimed, "The PC market is dead/dying" still here!
Almost every time a new generation of something comes out there's always someone claiming that "this will be the end of the PC market".
aramil 29th May 2013, 14:05 Quote
As I compile my own flavour of android for my tablets and for my phone. I don't think the pc is dead.

For all their ease of use, you still need a pc to build the os and the apps etc.

While for most poeple consuming data a tablet is ideal, most people who have to create data in any form the pc is still the king.
LordPyrinc 29th May 2013, 19:50 Quote
Personally, I never cared for working extended hours on a laptop. Keyboards on them can tend to be too flat and the key layout can feel a bit cramped. Biggest concern I would say is the way you look at a laptop screen versus a desktop screen. Ideally, you look at a monitor with your head straight, but when using a laptop, you are usually looking down at an angle. That tends to be a literal pain in the neck for me after hours working with a laptop or equivalent portable device. Then there is the eye strain of course when working with smaller screens. Tablets and laptops are great for portability and moderate use, but they suck at 40 hours a week or more use on the job.

A decade from now we'll probably start seeing more chronic ailments concerning neck, other ergonomic related issues, and eye strain as companies decide that their staff will be so much more productive if they did away with the PC and gave everyone shiny new tablets.
Gradius 29th May 2013, 23:02 Quote
Tablets are super limited yet. I can't think in tablet until after 2020. Unless I want something to read my manga on it.
Tynecider 31st May 2013, 00:39 Quote
Tablet's replace desktop PC's!!!!!

OHHHH NOOOOOO!

What about the "Computer Desk" industry?

Did anyone stop to consider the "Computer Desk" industry plight should we all start gaming and working from tablets.

We will see massive unrest when demand for quality flat pack desks diminishes, The militant "Computer Desk Builders" union busts a nut and goes on hunger strike

WERE DOOMED!

The end of the world is here I tell ya!




140mm FANS!!!!! OHHH NOOOOOO...........


hehe
LightningPete 31st May 2013, 05:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tynecider
Tablet's replace desktop PC's!!!!!

OHHHH NOOOOOO!

What about the "Computer Desk" industry?

Did anyone stop to consider the "Computer Desk" industry plight should we all start gaming and working from tablets.

We will see massive unrest when demand for quality flat pack desks diminishes, The militant "Computer Desk Builders" union busts a nut and goes on hunger strike

WERE DOOMED!

The end of the world is here I tell ya!




140mm FANS!!!!! OHHH NOOOOOO...........


hehe

Clearly you were past your bedtime and your sugar limit :)
MrJay 31st May 2013, 10:37 Quote
The real turn of the tide will be when we get a generation of kids that will have almost exclusively used tablet computing, be it at home or in school. These will be the consumers tha drive the most sales away from the traditional desktop. It will seem as absurd to them to sit at a desktop as I find it to get any 'real work' done on a tablet.

The schools I work in are already talking about 1 iPad per child and reducing the amount of available computer suites.

Personally I think the portable revolution in computing will lead to some epic social decline. I already have to battle to get any convocation out of my friends at the pub, they are all busy checking their emails and playing angry birds. I do have an iPad mini for work, but it is used exclusively for managing tickets on our helpdesk software rattling off a few informal emails.

Long live the desktop I say.

Ironically sent from my iPad .....
Silver51 31st May 2013, 12:12 Quote
The school down the road issued iPads to all it's student body; even made the local papers. What they didn't say was that the attrition rate is appalling. Breakages, jailbreaking, being left at home and becoming 'lost' seem to be their biggest issues.

Speaking to a parent st the school, she said that had she known this would happen, she would have sent her boys to a different school.

We trialled them at work, only to find the same problems.

That and when you allow your student body to walk around with tablets and phones, it becomes hard to teach them when they're Facebooking each other under the table.
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