Analysts See Shift in PC, Tablet Markets
Reports from IDC, Gartner and NPD DisplaySearch indicate improved PC sales while growth in tablets is slowing.IDC analysts earlier this year had predicted that PC shipments in the second quarter would fall another 7.1 percent, continuing a trend going on three years of contraction in the worldwide PC market as consumers and business users turned to tablets and smartphones for more of their computing needs. However, in a report this week, IDC found that the second-quarter decline was only 1.7 percent—the smallest fall in two years—with analysts seeing strengthening in both the commercial and consumer segments. Businesses are continuing to refresh their systems, while consumers, after several years of buying tablets, seem to be showing new interest in lower-cost PCs, the analysts said. "The better-than-expected results seem to arise from two places," Jay Chou, senior research analyst for IDC's Worldwide PC Trackers, said in a statement when the firm's numbers were released July 9. "One encouraging factor was a good intake of lower-end systems, including Chromebooks, which coincides with the recent slowing in tablet growth and perhaps signals the beginning of some stabilization on the consumer side. In addition, a sizable number of PCs are still running Windows XP and the impetus to upgrade them continued to boost shipments in the second quarter." IDC's report was one of several this week that indicate a slight shift in what consumers and businesses are looking for, with the PC numbers stabilizing—and returning to growth in 2015, according to Gartner analysts—and the demand for tablets slowing a bit for a number of reasons. That is good news for a range of system vendors and component makers, which have seen their financial numbers take a hit over the past few years, and backs up what some company executives said they saw in the first quarter.
Gartner analysts on June 9 also reported improvement in PC shipments in the second quarter, with stabilization coming in developed regions, though those numbers were offset by declines in emerging markets. According to the firm's numbers, 75.8 million PCs shipped during the three months, a 0.1 percent increase over the same period in 2013.