Worldwide PC market to post 10.1 per cent drop

PC Market

Worldwide personal-computer shipments are projected to fall 10.1 per cent this year, by far the biggest annual decline on record, as consumers continue to shun the devices, market researcher IDC said. “Interest in PCs has remained limited, leading to little indication of positive growth beyond replacement of existing systems,” the Framingham, Massachusetts-based firm said on Monday in a statement. IDC had previously predicted a 9.7 per cent decrease for the year. Unit shipments are expected to drop 3.8 per cent in 2014 before turning slightly positive, IDC said.

 

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Consumers in particular are shifting away from PCs to devices like tablets and smartphones, leading the consumer market to fare worse than corporate demand this year. At IDC’s projected sales rates, shipments worldwide will stay at just more than 300 million through 2017, or barely above 2008 levels – raising concerns for PC-dependent companies like HP and Microsoft.

One bright spot for Microsoft is IDC’s forecast for tablets based on its Windows software. Shipments of the devices are projected to rise to 40.8 million in 2017, from less than 9 million this year, the researcher said.

This is different from Facebook’s often-cited mobile advertising problem, back when it was having trouble getting its own users into its app. The company seems to have solved that one. Instead, it’s an indication that the network effects that have made it largely invincible hold less sway on mobile phones. Smaller companies are coming along and poking holes at Facebook’s weak points, then doing a better job of something the giant company doesn’t do so well.

This is underlined by Facebook’s recent disclosure that growth among American teenagers has flattened and the social network is actually losing users among younger teens. Facebook can’t just put out a competitor to some upstart that catches on with the kids and condemn the new app to oblivion—just as it can’t simply buy off every teen-friendly threat it sees coming.

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