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Windows 10, PCaaS Offer Faint Hope for Stability in PC Market

International Data Corp. updated its worldwide PC shipment forecast for 2016 on Wednesday with a projection that's slightly less red than it was in August.

With most of the sales booked for the year, the headline number is a projected decline of 6.4 percent to about 258.2 million units shipped. That's better than the 7.2 percent decline that IDC projected when it last ran the numbers three months ago.

One reason things have improved has little to do with demand. Anticipation of component shortages in display panels and storage drove a channel build-up in the third quarter, IDC said. That channel-led boost is expected to peter out during the first quarter of 2017.

As the market matures for the smartphones and tablets that dramatically disrupted PC sales over the last decade, those segments are exerting less downward pressure on PCs and allowing the PC market to stabilize. While consumer sales are expected to remain weak, IDC foresees some low single-digit growth in the commercial market over the next few years.

IDC analyst Neha Mahajan offered a few reasons for optimism in the U.S. market. "Backed by early Windows 10 transitions that are expected to boost commercial PC shipments in the next couple of years, and steady growth of PCaaS (PC as a Service) which should help shorten refresh cycles of commercial systems in the long-term, the overall U.S. PC market sentiment certainly seems to be improving," Mahajan said in a statement.

Overall, the trend is away from desktops toward notebooks, and within notebooks to ultra-slim and convertible designs, which IDC expects to account for more than 60 percent of notebook shipments by 2020.

As for next year, IDC is still calling for a 2.1 percent year-over-year decline in shipments for all of 2017.

Posted by Scott Bekker on November 30, 2016


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