PC Shipments Falling with a Thud

Growth in 2016 PC shipments is now expected to be roughly 2% below earlier projections as conditions have been weaker than expected, IDC says.
Katie Kuehner-HebertJune 9, 2016

Worldwide shipments of personal computers are expected to fall by 7.3% year over year in 2016, as consumers try to save money by relying on other devices or free upgrades, according to an updated forecast from the IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker released Thursday.

Growth in 2016 shipments is now expected to be roughly 2% below earlier projections as conditions have been weaker than expected, the Framingham, Mass. firm said. Growth in the first quarter was -12.5%, below IDC’s forecast of -11.3%, as shipments continue to be constrained by weak currencies, depressed commodity prices, political uncertainty, and delayed projects.

Also putting pressure on PC shipments is the reluctance of consumers across regions to spend money on a new PC or a replacement, particularly if they are able to rely on other devices or using a free Microsoft Windows 10 upgrade, IDC said.

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PCs face growing competition from detachable tablets, whose specifications and prices increasingly compare favorably against notebook and laptop PCs. Combining detachable tablets with PCs, the market is projected to decline by just over 2% in 2016 with scant positive growth in later years, though still falling well short of peak shipments.

“We have now had four consecutive quarters of double-digit volume declines,” Loren Loverde, vice president, Worldwide Tracker Forecasting and PC research, said in a press release. “This type of prolonged slump is unprecedented, and lowers the bar for some improvement going forward. Unfortunately, the PC market still faces some persistent challenges, and for now, improvement continues to mean slower declines.”

Wayne Williams at Beta News blamed the declines in PC shipments on Microsoft: “It’s not due to PC buyers scrambling to buy Macs or anything like that, I hasten to add, but rather the free upgrade that’s the problem … both consumers and businesses are choosing to breathe new life into old hardware by upgrading it to Windows 10 at no cost, rather than buying new PCs.”