PC sales outlook improves: Now terrifying instead of catastrophic

Keep the defibrillator handy

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There's no sunrise in sight yet, only a slightly paler night: IDC reckons a lame uptick in convertibles and slim laptops will slow the PC market's collapse.

Convertible and slim, sorry, “ultra slim” laptops will make up 63 per cent of notebook shipments by 2020, IDC reckons (by that time, Vulture South wonders, how many new units won't be in the slim-and-sexy form factors?).

The prognostication-as-a-service firm predicts that instead of a catastrophic 7.2 per cent decline in PC market shipments year-on-year for 2016, the market will shrink by a merely terrible 6.4 per cent.

The analyst still expects 2017's market by value to be 2.1 per cent down on 2016, but buyers are sufficiently keen on the new form factors to drive a slight increase in units shipped.

IDC had forecast that Q3 2016 would be more than 6.6 per cent down on the same quarter last year, but it turned in a decline of 4.6 per cent.

As well as a lame momentum in various geographies – Japan, Europe and the US – IDC reckons channels expect manufacturing output to be crimped by a shortage of components like screens and storage, so they're stockpiling.

The market will have to wait until 2018 before the decline halts and the PC market returns to “modest commercial growth”; the age of desktop growth is well and truly over, but commercial notebooks will rise to a peak of 3.7 per cent growth in 2019.

Commercial desktops will be flat through 2018, and consumer desktop and notebook sales will decline in the same period.

Product Category Region 2016 Shipments (M)* Market Share* 2020 Shipments (M)* Market Share* 5-Year CAGR
Desktop Mature 39.1 15.10% 30.6 12.30% -5.90%
  Emerging 64.4 25.00% 62.5 25.00% -0.70%
Desktop Total   103.5 40.10% 93.1 37.20% -2.60%
             
Notebook Mature 87 33.70% 83.5 33.40% -1.00%
  Emerging 67.7 26.20% 73.4 29.40% 2.00%
Notebook Total   154.7 59.90% 156.9 62.80% 0.40%
             
Total PC Mature 126.1 48.80% 114.1 45.70% -2.50%
  Emerging 132.1 51.20% 135.9 54.30% 0.70%
Grand Total   258.2 100.00% 250 100.00% -0.80%

IDC's PC shipments forecast, in millions

The forecast is here. ®

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