The market for personal computing devices is showing a steady decline according to statistics from IDC, with an expected decline in unit shipments of 3.9 per cent in 2018.
This decline is expected to continue for the foreseeable future with the market expected to shrink to 378.3 million units shipped in 2022 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of -1.8 per cent.
These are the results of the IDC worldwide quarterly personal computing device tracker, which tracked the unit shipment performance of personal computing devices including desktops, notebooks, workstations, as well as tablets.
“In the short term, the traditional PC market will see some impact from a processor shortage, which is expected to affect lower end stock keeping units (SKUs) more significantly," said Jay Chou, research manager of Personal Computing Devices Tracker at IDC.
“But with the commercial upgrade heading into its final stretch over the next year or so, we believe that will drive much of the focus and volume, with opportunities across the pricing spectrum."
An updated set of assumptions were incorporated into the forecast - reflecting both areas of growth as well as concern.
Furthermore, mobile devices such as tablets saw disappointing numbers in the third quarter of 2018, which could be due to a longer consumer refresh cycle compared to smartphones - as such the outlook for tablets has been scaled back compared to previous forecasts.
Slate tablets also saw a decline, however, it has slowed in recent year. However, slate tablets have been in decline since 2015, with an expected CAGR of -5.8 per cent over a five-year forecast to 2020.
Detachable tablets have had their expected growth adjusted downwards toward a more conservative growth trajectory because of market consolidation and increased challenges to consumer adoption.
However, IDC sees growth opportunities for this category in some vertices like education and finance.
“In 2018, we have seen the detachable category waver as important product announcements were pushed to the last quarter of the year,” said Lauren Guenveur, senior research analyst of Devices & Displays at IDC.
“For the first time since the form factor's introduction, annual volumes are expected to be down compared to the previous year. However, we expect the market will recover in 2019 as new products from Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, and Google become more readily available."
Traditional PCs too are expected to struggle, especially in the desktop category, however, certain categories are expected to perform better, namely, gaming, business PC upgrades, and an expanding presence for higher end notebooks.
Notebooks and mobile workstations still command the largest product category volume and its share within total PCD devices are expected to grow the most through 2022.
Improvements in the Windows value proposition also means gains for higher end systems, such as convertible notebooks filling in markets where detachable tablets have faltered.
Data from more than 90 countries were included in the IDC study.