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PC shipments set to drop once more in 2015: IDC

Slippage greater than previous projections as research firm revises estimates

PC shipments set to drop once more in 2015: IDC

International Data Corporation (IDC) expects worldwide PC shipments to fall by 4.9% in 2015, a drop from the research firm's previous forecast slide of 3.3%.

Growth projections for 2016 and 2017 were raised slightly, according to the company's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker.

Fourth quarter results were 1.7% ahead of forecast, but economic and product changes are set to "create a head wind" in the short term, IDC said.

Total 2015 volume is projected to be 293.1m units, slipping a little further to 291.4m in 2019. In value terms, the PC market was $201bn in 2014, which represented a decline of 0.8%, and is expected to fall another 6.9% in 2015, with smaller declines in subsequent years, bringing the market's value to $175bn by 2019.

Although sections of the market saw some improvements in demand during the second half of 2014, part of the fourth-quarter volume was inflated by an inventory build-up of "Windows 8.1 + Bing" systems in anticipation of Microsoft scaling back subsidies in early 2015. IDC expects the short term impact to hit consumer channels as they work to clear stock. In addition, average prices are likely to rise in the near term with the scaling back of Bing subsidies; the strong US dollar (which makes systems more expensive abroad); and the continuing shift to slim, convertible, and touch-based systems. IDC added that, while recent processor updates have "generated positive reception", more significant product refreshes from the likes of Intel (Skylake platform) and Microsoft (Windows 10) will be released later in the year, shifting OEM product updates and consumer interest toward later in 2015.

"Fortunately for PC makers, tablet growth has slowed," said Jay Chou, senior research analyst, Worldwide PC Trackers. "The PC ecosystem has also begun to see some fruits from efforts to narrow the divide between the PC and mobile devices in terms of both user experience and price points. Nevertheless, much more needs to be done, as advances in both hardware and software are expected to benefit an ever-wider spectrum of form factors, such as two-in-one devices that will further siphon volume from notebooks."

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