Skip to main content

The PC Ecosystem will be Challenged Again in 2014

When Dell recently announced a low-priced chromebook -- based on Google's Chrome OS -- it became the last major Windows PC maker to embrace the cloudbook phenomenon. Like the stubborn CIO that resisted the cloud computing trend but eventually faced up to the market reality, Dell has finally accepted what others knew to be true -- the glory days of the high-priced PC era are over.

Worldwide personal computer (PC) shipments are expected to fall by -10.1 percent by the end of 2013, slightly below the previous projection of -9.7 percent. That's, by far, the most severe yearly market contraction on record, according to the latest market study by International Data Corporation (IDC).

Interest in PCs has remained limited, leading to little indication of positive growth beyond replacement of existing systems. Total shipments are expected to decline by an additional -3.8 percent in 2014 before turning slightly positive in the longer term.

At these rates, total PC shipments will remain just above 300 million during the forecast period -- barely ahead of 2008 volumes. Even in emerging markets -- once seen as a primary growth engine of the PC market -- shipments are projected to decline in 2014 and later recover by only a few percent.

The commercial PC market is faring somewhat better than the consumer PC market in 2013 with shipments declining by -5 percent year over year compared to nearly -15 percent for consumer.


The relative stability is due to a mix of more stable PC investment planning, a smaller impact from tablets, and to replacements of Windows XP systems before the end of support planned for 2014. However, the long-term outlook for the two markets is not significantly different, with a small decline projected for both consumer and commercial segments in 2014 with near flat growth in the longer term.

"Perhaps the chief concern for future PC demand is a lack of reasons to replace an older system," said Jay Chou, senior research analyst at IDC.

While IDC research finds that the PC still remains the primary computing device – for example, PCs are used more hours per day than tablets or phones – PC usage is nonetheless declining each year as more devices become available.

And despite industry efforts, PC usage has not moved significantly beyond consumption and productivity tasks to differentiate PCs from other devices. As a result, PC lifespans continue to increase, thereby limiting market growth.

Microsoft, and its key channel partners, may find some relief in a very competitive world marketplace. The Windows-based tablet market is expected to grow to 39.3 million units by 2017 -- from less than 7.5 million in 2013 and less than 1 million in 2011. However, relative to a PC market size of roughly 300 million units, these Windows tablets would add just a couple of percentage points a year.

Even so, these new Windows devices are projected to account for 10 percent of a combined PC and Tablet market by 2016 – making them an important potential upside growth opportunity for the struggling traditional Wintel PC ecosystem.

Popular posts from this blog

Digital Solutions for Industrial & Manufacturing Firms

Executive leaders of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) are seeking guidance on how to apply new business technology in their manufacturing operations. CIOs and CTOs are tasked with gaining insight into the best solutions for digital transformation. ABI Research evaluated the impact politics, regulation, the economy, supply chain, ESG, and technology are having on FMCG, pharma, producers of steel, chemicals, pulp and paper -- as well as the mining and oil & gas sectors. Digital Transformation Market Development "Our assessment found that the FMCG sector is under pressure from all sides," says Michael Larner, industrial & manufacturing research director at ABI Research . Securing raw materials is challenging considering lockdowns in China and limited grain supplies from Ukraine. Supply shocks are raising input costs, and operating costs are rising with higher energy costs coupled with the pressure to pay higher wages and work sustainably. "We all hoped that with th

5G Fixed Wireless Access Revenue to Reach $24B

Available Internet access at an affordable cost is essential for everyone to participate in the Global Networked Economy. The deployment of fifth-generation (5G) wireless communications infrastructure is enabling the introduction of lower-cost broadband services in some markets. Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) allows mobile network operators (MNO) to deliver high-speed Internet connections in areas that have either insufficient or no prior wireline broadband access services. It's also used in urban, suburban, and rural areas where fiber optic communication is considered too expensive to install and maintain. With this new technology, MNOs have the potential to provide broadband capability at similar levels to fiber optic networks. Fixed Wireless Access Market Development Therefore, FWA can be used to supplement existing wired broadband Internet service offerings, provide additional broadband capacity, or act as a backup service for home or business applications. Although FWA is well es

Why the C-Suite Craves Digital App Acceleration

Business model evolution and growth are still top priorities for forward-thinking leadership. In fact, 70 percent of surveyed boards of directors will accelerate digital business initiatives, steering the organization to digitally-enabled growth. Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) also plan to protect their digital transformation investments as they cut costs elsewhere in their operations, according to the latest market study by Gartner. Among technology priorities, CFOs have particularly prioritized back-office business automation technology as a key to driving down costs in the face of ongoing inflation and supply chain challenges. Digital Applications Market Development A survey of CFOs found that digital business app acceleration was the top spending priority over the next 12 months, with 98 percent of respondents saying they will protect digital investments. Meanwhile, 66 percent of surveyed CFOs said they plan to increase their digital app investments. A separate survey of CEOs high