The PC Is Doomed, No Matter Which Way You Look At It

Global PC sales have been under attack from smartphones and tablets, and despite a recent glimmer of hope, the long term outlook for PCs isn’t bright.
Research firm IDC has lowered its global PC sales outlook to -4.9% for 2015, from the previously projected -3.3%. It is estimated that sales will stand at 293.1 million units during 2015, down from 308.1 million during 2014.
In terms of value the fall is expected to be even greater, with global revenues driven by PC sales reaching $201 billion in 2014 and is expected to drop by -6.9% decline in 2015. In the long term, PC revenues are expected to drop to $175 million by 2019.
IDC maintains a negative outlook for the PC market in 2015 despite the many positive shifts being observed. Processors utilizing Intel’s new Skylake architecture and Microsoft’s Windows 10 platform have been garnering positive responses, but their launch in the second half of 2015 is expected to do too little to boost PC sales during the year.
This is largely due to the increase in average global PC prices, with Microsoft scaling back Bing subsidies and the growing strength of the US dollar, which makes systems more expensive abroad.
PC makers can however find some respite from shrinking tablet sales, and also the fact that the price and user experience divide between PCs and smartphones does seem to be falling.
IDC PC sales forecast
However, going forward PC manufacturers have to figure out new ways to cater to customers in fast growing emerging markets. In 2014, PC shipments in emerging markets declined by 9.5%, and are expected to decline by a further 4.7% in 2015.
While growth in developed markets did clock in at 8.4% during 2014, the sales outlook for 2015 is negative, at -5.1%.
The roll-out of Windows 10 is expected to provide a push to PC sales later this year, and with Microsoft putting the focus back on non-touch devices, the pressure on manufacturers to shift to touch-based and convertible PCs will be eased.
“The gains in mature regions for 2014 helped stabilize the market, but any opportunity for long-term growth depends on reviving growth in emerging regions, and that seems unlikely with the shift toward mobile devices,” said Loren Loverde, Vice President, Worldwide PC Trackers.

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