IDC Revises PC Forecast Downward

PC shipments will fall 7.3% YoY in 2016, according to an updated forecast from IDC, followed by progressively smaller declines through 2017, and stabilisation in 2018. The new forecast is roughly 2% lower than IDC’s previous prediction as conditions have been weaker than expected. Shipments were down 12.5% in Q1, compared to IDC’s projected 11.3% fall.

Growth rates for PC competitors such as smartphones and tablets continue to fall. However, this has not translated into an upswing in PC sales. Consumers in all regions are under financial pressure, and the free Windows 10 upgrade has also delayed replacements. Similarly, although many businesses are now evaluating Windows 10, the pace of new PC purchases has not yet stabilised commercial shipments.

Detachable tablets are expected to be an increasingly popular market in the future, with prices comparing well against notebooks. If these products are combined with PCs, the market will fall by just over 2% this year. Low positive growth would be seen in later years, although would still be far below peak shipments.

Q1’16 was the fourth consecutive quarter of double-digit PC shipment declines, noted IDC’s Loren Loverde. This is an unprecedented length of time for such a market downturn, and “lowers the bar for some improvement going forward…[F]or now, improvement continues to mean slower declines.”

Jay Chou of IDC said that, although inventory has improved in some markets, channels remain very conservative. The consumer segment is predicted to decline in double digits again for 2016 overall. Commercial shipments, though, will ‘only’ fall 4.4% this year, with slight positive growth in the coming years.

Speaking about the US market specifically, research director Linn Huang said there are some strong market drivers making an appearance. Chromebooks, for instance, should continue to grow quickly as the back-to-school period approaches. IDC also expects some organisations to begin to move to Windows 10 by the end of the year.

PC Shipments by Product Category and Region (Millions)
Product Category Region 2016 Shipments 2020 Shipments 2016 Share 2020 Share 5-Year CAGR
Notebook Mature 84.8 80.7 33.2% 32.3% -1.0%
Emerging 67.5 74.6 26.4% 29.9% 2.0%
Portable PC Total 152.3 155.3 59.6% 62.2% 0.4%
Desktop Mature 38.3 29.9 15.0% 12.0% -4.8%
Emerging 65.1 64.3 25.5% 25.8% -0.2%
Desktop PC Total 103.3 94.2 40.4% 37.8% -1.8%
Total PC Mature 123.1 110.6 48.1% 44.3% -2.1%
Emerging 132.6 139.0 51.9% 55.7% 0.9%
Grand Total 255.6 249.5 100.0% 100.0% -0.5%
Source: IDC