Worldwide personal computer (PC) shipments are expected to fall by -8.7 percent in 2015 and not stabilize until 2017 at the earliest, according to the the latest worldwide market study by International Data Corporation (IDC).
According to the IDC assessment, the latest PC forecast has growth declining further through 2016 -- which will now amount to five continuous years of declining shipments.
Growth should resume in 2017, led by the commercial market, while consumer volume continues a small decline through the end of the forecast period in 2019.
Although IDC had expected the second quarter of 2015 to be a transition period, final results nonetheless shrank even more than expected due to the ongoing large inventory of notebook PCs from prior quarters and severe constraints posed by the decline of major currencies relative to the U.S. Dollar.
In addition to economic issues, free upgrades of Windows 10, a relative dearth of newer models in the short term, and distribution channels that are reluctant to take stock also makes the prospect of growth unlikely through 2016.
"Although the shortcomings of the PC business are obvious, a silver lining is that the industry has continued to refine the more mobile aspects of personal computers -- contributing to higher growth in convertibles and ultrabooks," said Jay Chou, senior research analyst at IDC.
Moreover, mobile devices -- such as tablets and smartphones -- can no longer be the sole reason for ongoing PC shipment declines. Besides, low cost PC devices, such as the Chromebook, continue to gain momentum.
The combined volume of PCs, tablets, and smartphones is expected to grow only in the single digits from 2015 through 2019 as saturation and "good enough computing" sentiments spread even into tablets, which are expected to see further volume decline in 2015.
That being said, IDC remains somewhat optimistic about the potential for a modest recovery in 2017, when the prospect of the next refresh cycle could provide new upside opportunities in notebooks and the commercial PC segments.
Within emerging regions of the world, where consumer budgets have been divided across a myriad of devices, PC purchases are also expected to regain some interest in the foreseeable future.