PC industry outlook worse than expected, IDC says

28 May 2013

IDC has said the outlook for the PC sector in 2013 is worse than originally predicted. Consumer demand for lighter, versatile and more energy-efficient gadgets over PCs will see PC sales plummet by 7.8pc in 2013.

The analyst firm cites a shift in PC buying trends as consumers delay PC purchases or opt entirely instead for alternative devices, like standalone tablets or smartphones which suit their computing needs.

Instead of a limited decline of -1.3pc in 2013 followed by a gradual increase in volume, the new outlook calls for a more substantial decline of -7.8pc in 2013 and -1.2pc in 2014 with shipment volume reaching only 333m in 2017 – still below the 349m shipped in 2012 and a peak of more than 363m shipped in 2011.

“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,” explained Loren Loverde, programme vice-president of IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker.

“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,” Loverde said.

Replacement cycle in PC industry drawn out

PC outlook IDC

IDC expects to see some replacements happen in 2014, particularly in the commercial segment, as support for Windows XP expires.

However, the commercial market has been conservative with replacements, focusing on individual systems more than large upgrade projects. In addition, workers at many companies already have portable PCs with adequate configurations.

The motivation to buy a new system due to falling prices or to switch from a desktop to a portable PC is contributing less to market growth than it did in the past.

“In addition, the BYOD (bring your own device) phenomenon has moved from smartphones to tablets and PCs, with nearly 25pc of employees in organisations larger than 10 people claiming to have purchased the primary PC they use for work,” said Bob O’Donnell, programme vice-president, Clients and Displays.

“This means that some of the corporate PC purchases we expected this year will no longer happen,” O’Donnell said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years