IDC: Performance, portability shine in an otherwise declining PC market

KUCHING: Unit shipments for the global personal computing devices market, comprised of traditional personal computers (PC), tablets, and workstations, is expected to contract by 3.9 per cent in 2018, according to the latest forecast from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker.

In a statement, it explained that this decline is expected to continue throughout the forecast period as the market shrinks to 383.6 million units shipped in 2022 with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.5 per cent.

Despite the decline in overall shipment volume, it highlighted that the market is expected to grow 3.6 per cent in terms of dollar value to US$237.3 billion in 2018, fueled by two-in-ones (detachable tablets and convertible notebooks), ultraslim notebooks, and even desktops, particularly ones used for gaming.

“Although average time spent on a PC has declined substantially in the past few years, the need for better designs and greater performance has continued to grow,” said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst with IDC’s Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker.

“The market for gaming PCs provides a much needed uplift in the short term and beyond that we still anticipate the need for performance-oriented machines that cater to designers, AR/VR related tasks, and even to creators that are part of the YouTube generation,” Jitesh added.

Among the various form factors, it noted that desktop PCs are expected to see a CAGR of negative 2.7 per cent as most of these devices are destined for the commercial market where lengthy refresh cycles and saturation are contributing to a steady decline in shipments. Slate tablets, along with traditional notebooks and mobile workstations, share a similar outlook with five-year CAGRs of negative 5.3 per cent and negative 9.1 per cent respectively.

Meanwhile, it pointed out that ultraslim notebooks and two-in-one devices share a much more positive outlook as the categories are forecast to achieve CAGRs of 7.8 per cent and 9.3 per cent respectively.

“While the ramp of convertibles and detachables has been more crawl than run, the category on the whole continues to build momentum,” said Linn Huang, research director Devices & Displays at IDC.

“Strong form factor appeal, the continued growth of gaming, and even the ascent of Chromebook as a consumer device in North America will all play an important role in bolstering the critical holiday season that is looming,” Linn added.

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