Worldwide PC shipments fell by less than expected in 2014, but research firm IDC Corp. cautions this could just be a short-term blip rather than a more lasting recovery of the long-term decline of the global PC market.
According to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, worldwide PC shipments will fall by 2.7 per cent in 2014, an improvement over IDC’s originally forecast decline of 2.7 per cent. Third quarter shipments were down 0.5 per cent, also better than forecast, but IDC said market participants see this as a short-term gain and remain cautious about the medium and longer term.
Regionally, mature markets are growing while the rebound has been slower to come to emerging markets, in part due to the later arrival of tablets to those markets and slower commercial refresh. In mature markets, PC shipments grew by 7.1 per cent overall, with portables growing by 8.8 per cent and desktops by 4.4 per cent. Conversely, emerging market shipments are expected to decline by 9.9 per cent in 2014.
“The expansion of entry-level models, encouraged by Windows 8 + Bing systems, has helped improve consumer volume in recent quarters and should extend past the fourth quarter,” said Jay Chou, senior research analyst, Worldwide PC Trackers at IDC, in a statement. “Chromebooks are similarly boosting the low-end commercial segment. However, the market is still recovering to near stable volumes with no significant growth in the forecast.”
By market segment, consumer shipments were ahead of expectations but still declined by 0.5 per cent in 2014. While pressure from tablets appears to be waning as penetration rises, there’s also increased competition for disposable income from the smartphone market. More low cost systems helped buoy third quarter shipments, however.
“In the best case for PCs, we’d see a significant wave of replacements as users who spent on phones and tablets in recent years decide they really need to update their PC. Features like touch or convertibility, as well as Windows 10 could make systems more versatile and appealing, along with lower prices,” said Loren Loverde, vice-president, Worldwide PC Trackers for IDC, in a statement. “However, we’ve seen steady progress on prices and new designs over the past year, and replacements are stabilizing PC shipments but not boosting total volume. Going forward, as younger generations become more mobile and Web oriented, and emerging regions in particular prioritize converged devices (or economy in number of devices to purchase), the PC market will continue to face tough competition and be more focused on replacements, with limited potential for growth.”