IDC slashes PC sales forecast as tablets take over

Tablets are set to overtake desktop sales in the next few years, IDC stats show, with the analyst firm predicting Windows 8 won’t significantly boost PC sales.

IDC slashes PC sales forecast as tablets take over

IDC issued its long-range forecast, cutting its five-year sales growth prediction for laptops and desktops from 8.4% to 7.1%. Its estimate suggests very little growth for desktop shipments, but it doesn’t mean the death of the form factor – they’ll still hold a quarter of the market in 2016.

Much of desktop shipments will be in emerging markets, which already see twice the shipments of “mature” markets, IDC said. Overall the total PC market – including tablets, desktops and laptops – will grow from 433.5m in 2011 to 705.2m in 2016.

The shape of the market may be set for even more change than IDC’s numbers suggest, as the analyst firm currently includes Windows tablets in its mobile PC numbers rather than tablets – a division it plans to change in future data sets.

Windows 8 revival

IDC said Windows 8 may help “revive” PC sales, but competition and consumer confusion will limit the positive effect, IDC said. The analyst firm predicted PC sales would be mostly flat next year, with 367m laptops and desktops shipping globally.

It said consumers would wait to see what Windows 8 and Ultrabooks had to offer, but they have tough competition against existing tablets. “Product updates later this year should revive PC growth, but it will be a more pronounced competitive environment and there is likely to be some confusion among buyers about new product features as well as where they will get the most for their money,” it added.

Stats revealed by PC Pro last week showed Windows OS launches don’t necessarily boost PC sales, and IDC suggested Windows 8 may be a tougher sell than its predecessor.

“Factors such as Windows 8 coupled with Ultrabooks could present a positive turn of events next year, but it also faces some initial hurdles; chief of which is that buyers must acclimate themselves to an operating system that is a dramatic departure from existing PC paradigms,” said Jay Chou, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. “The PC ecosystem faces some work to properly educate the market.”

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