IDC says PC and tablet shipments will fall as much as 3 percent this year despite growth in commercial sales and anticipated pent-up demand
PC sales will continue to slide as much as 3.3 percent in 2019 and fall at a compound annual rate of 1.2 percent through 2023, according to a new forecast by IDC and its Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker. The down forecast comes despite an increase in commercial sales and anticipated pent-up demand caused by component shortages at the close of 2018.
The Lowdown: The PC forecast isn’t all bad. While the overall segment will continue its downward decline toward 372.6 million units sold by 2023, certain devices such as detachables and notebooks will climb in sales as they offset the market share losses of traditional desktops and slate-type tablets. In addition, the commercial, enterprise, and education markets will likely mitigate the expected steep losses in the consumer and gaming segments. Further, IDC projects that Windows 10 migration projects among SMB and midmarket companies will spur spending on new PC units in 2019.
The Details: The big winner in the IDC PC forecasts are
Notebook computers continue to remain the favored commercial and enterprise computing device. In 2019, businesses will purchase 45 percent more notebook computers than commercial and consumer tablets combined. IDC projects notebooks, driven by commercial sales, will command 46 percent of the personal computer segment. If mobile workstations are included, the notebook market share climbs to 53 percent in five years.
IDC sees conventional tablet sales declining by a compound rate of up to 4.4 percent over the next five years as many
The other bright spot in the PC segment is Chromebooks. IDC expects Chromebook sales to increase as more detachable models enter the market. Today, Chromebooks — which run the Google Chrome operating system — are primarily sold into the education market. Google is pushing more commercial sales. The advent of 5G networks over the next few years could make the Internet-driven devices more viable for commercial users.
Background: Many expected the PC market to rebound after a disastrous close to 2018. PC shipments dropped sharply in the last quarter of the year despite surprisingly high demand in commercial and consumer devices. Processor shortages at Intel rippled through the PC supply chain, leaving vendors and resellers with scant inventories. Intel vowed to correct the problem, which caused many analysts to believe the PC market would recover in the first two quarters of 2019.
The Buzz: “Notebooks/mobile workstations and detachable tablets are expected to take 53% of all PCD shipments by 2023, a clear majority,” said Jay Chou, research manager of the PCD Tracker at IDC. “Even as personal computing takes place on a myriad of devices and emerging venues like the cloud, IDC believes there remains a place for portable devices that can evolve to fit changing tastes while still retaining important but under-appreciated features like a physical keyboard.”
“While the long-run PCD market remains in persistent decline, the constitution of the market continues to churn for the better,” added Linn Huang, research director for devices and displays at IDC. “And with ray-tracing ramping up and 5G-connected, dual-screen, and foldable devices on the not-too-distant horizon, consumers and professionals will likely find something compelling at the premium end.”
Channelnomics Point of View: The long-term declining forecast in PC sales is expected. PC sales have fallen for much of the past decade, largely driven by consumers shifting from fixed desktop computers to mobile devices. While commercial sales remain largely positive, and sometimes growing, it’s not enough to offset the overall decline.
Falling PC sales are prompting PC vendors to rethink their go-to-market strategies and embrace marketplace sales. Rather than selling through resellers, PC vendors are beginning to shift more of their commercial and consumer sales through e-commerce portals and marketplaces such as Amazon. While the changing strategy is partly driven by the need to preserve margin, it’s also to meet the evolving expectations of buyers that are increasingly accustomed to purchasing through automated channels.