IDC warns of PC market decline through 2018

March 5, 2014 // 10:08 a.m.

Tags: #desktop-pc #emerging-markets #gartner #global-pc-market #idc #laptop-pc #pc-market #traditional-pcs #worldwide-pc-market

Industry watcher IDC has warned that the market for traditional PCs is shrinking faster than ever, and predicts that its decline will continue through to 2018.

Despite claims from rival Gartner earlier this year that the PC market was due to bottom-out and return to recovery, IDC has a gloomy prediction which suggests growth is still a long way off. In its latest quarterly report, the company suggested that global PC shipments slipped by 9.8 per cent last year - the worst decline since it began tracking the market.

While that's better than the dismal 10.1 per cent slump IDC had previously predicted, it's indicative of a downward trend that the company suggests won't be coming to a close any time soon. IDC's projected shipment figures for 2014 claim worldwide sales of traditional PCs, both mobile and desktop, of 295.9 million, down from 315.1 million in 2013. The decline will then continue, IDC warns, through to 2018 when the global shipments will be as low as 291.7 million - still a significant figure, of course, but far from the growth a hopeful Gartner had predicted.

Much of the poor performance, IDC explains, comes from emerging markets. 'Emerging markets used to be a core driver of the PC market, as rising penetration among large populations boosted overall growth,' claimed Loren Loverde, IDC's vice president of worldwide PC trackers. 'At the moment, however, we're seeing emerging regions more affected by a weak economic environment as well as significant shifts in technology buying priorities. We do expect these regions to recover in the medium term and perform better than mature regions, but growth is expected to stabilise near zero per cent, rather than driving increasing volumes as we saw in the past.'

This echoes comments made by Gartner principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa back in January: 'In emerging markets, the first connected device for consumers is most likely a smartphone, and their first computing device is a tablet. As a result, the adoption of PCs in emerging markets will be slower as consumers skip PCs for tablets.'

With traditional PC sales still dropping, Intel's renewed focus on embedded and wearable systems becomes clear.

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