PCs and Tablets Hit the Skids, Says IDC

Is Windows 10 killing the PC market? Something is going on. Market research firm IDC predicts that worldwide PC shipments will fall 8.7 percent in 2015 -- and shipments aren't expected to stabilize until 2017.

All told, IDC figures the PC market will see five years of declining shipments before resuming growth in 2017. Even then, the commercial market will drive that growth while the consumer market continues posting small declines through at least 2019.

"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 Convertible & Ultraslim Notebooks," said Jay Chou, senior research analyst, Worldwide PC Tracker, in a statement. "The de-emphasis of touch on Windows 10 also paves the way for a more familiar experience and continuing unit growth on large-screen systems, particularly all-in-one PCs."

Foreign Currency Impact

With vendors preparing for Windows 10 systems in the last six months of the year, IDC expected the second quarter of 2015 to be a transition period. But final results shrank even more than anticipated. The firm pointed to the EUstubbornly largeEU inventory of notebooks from past quarters and severe constraints posed by the decline of foreign currencies relative to the U.S. dollar.

But thereEUs another factor: free upgrades of Windows 10. Along with that is the relative dearth of newer models in the short term, and channels that are reluctant to take stock. Put another way, we can no longer blame the demise of the PC solely on the increase of mobile devices. IDC said taken together these factors make the prospect of growth unlikely through 2016.

Despite the gloomy near-term forecast, IDC is still optimistic that a modest recovery could come in 2017. ThatEUs because of the timing of...

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