Will PCs Be Dead and Gone by 2018?

Has the gloom finally turned into doom for the PC market? Quarter after quarter, the forecast seems to grow worse. Now, market research firm IDC is predicting shipments will decline another six percent in 2014 and continue sliding through 2018.

HereEUs the latest: Worldwide PC shipments dipped 9.8% in 2013. Although that was slightly better than the expected 10.1 percent decline, itEUs nevertheless still the worst contraction on record, IDCEUs Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker reports.

Likewise, fourth quarter results were slightly better than expected but the one bright spot -- emerging markets -- is also deteriorating as competition from other devices and economic pressures grow. Stateside and in other mature markets, the slight lift in Windows XP replacements fueled some improvement but IDC doesnEUt expect that to last long.

Will Tablets Push Out PCs?

So, then, whatEUs the big picture? IDC just lowered overall PC growth projections for 2014 by just more than 2 percent. The firm also lowered growth expectations for subsequent years by less than 1 percent. However, the sum total essentially draws a goose egg, with long-term growth just below zero and pushes volumes below 300 million throughout the forecast.

"2014 will remain a challenging year for PC vendors in Asia as a cautious economic outlook means consumers will prioritize device purchases. At the same time, tectonic changes in politics will affect commercial spending in some of the major countries, like India, Indonesia, and Thailand, which are due to hold elections this year," said Andi Handoko, Research Manager for Client Devices, IDC Asia/Pacific. "The region is also seeing a void in public sector spending this year after huge education deals seen in India and Malaysia last year failed to materialize."

For additional analysis, we caught up with Roger Kay, a senior analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates and former IDC analyst. He told...

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