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PC set for decade of decline

Jonathan Easton
PC set for decade of decline

PCs are set to continue their historic sales slump, hitting a decade of decline in 2021 according to new research from IDC. It is predicted that 418.2 million units will ship in 2021, down from 435 million in 2016, making a compound annual growth rate of -0.8 per cent. 

While the overall PC market doesn't look great, future sales of touch-screen PCs with detachable screens (i.e. 2-in-1s such as the Microsoft Surface) will double in the next five years. The market for notebooks and laptops will also grow by about five or six million units. Traditional tablets and desktop PCs will continue their decline – desktops shrinking from 103.3 million in 2016 to 89.8 million in 2021; tablets going from 153.5 million in 2016 to 109.8 million in 2021.

Personal Computing Device Forecast, 2016-2021 (shipments in millions)

Form Factor

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2016 Shipments

2016 Share

2021 Shipments*

2021 Share*

2016-2021 CAGR*

Desktop + DT & Datacenter Workstation

103.3

23.8%

89.8

21.5%

-2.8%

Notebook + Mobile Workstation

156.8

36.0%

162.5

38.9%

0.7%

Detachable Tablet

21.4

4.9%

56.1

13.4%

21.2%

Slate Tablet

153.5

35.3%

109.8

26.3%

-6.5%

Grand Total

435.0

100.0%

418.2

100%

-0.8%













Traditional PC

260.1

59.8%

252.3

60.3%

-0.6%

Traditional PC + Detachable

281.6

64.7%

308.4

73.7%

1.8%

Total Tablet (Slate + Detachable)

174.9

40.2%

165.9

39.7%

-1.1%

Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker, February 27, 2017

While the market may look as though it is in the favour of 2-in-1s, asserting that they will be the dominant force in computing is premature. "Regardless of what marketers are saying, detachable tablets are simply not putting pressure on notebooks yet," said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst, Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers.

"Consumers are just starting to graduate from old, consumption-based, slate tablets to a more productive detachable tablet. At the same time, the benefits of having a thin, touch-sensitive, productivity-based machine is shining light on the traditional PC category, causing vendors and consumers to focus on more premium devices in the Convertible and Ultraslim space."

Tags: PCs, tablets, research, idc, markets

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