IDC in its latest PC shipments report said enterprise PC market will dip 5 percent in 2013, while consumer PCs will decline 15 percent.
The relative stability is due to a mix of more stable PC investment planning, a smaller impact from tablets, and to replacements of Windows XP systems before the end of support planned for 2014.
However, the long-term outlook for the two markets is not significantly different, with a small decline projected for both consumer and commercial segments in 2014 with near flat growth in the longer term, IDC said.
The overall PC market decline in 2013 will be 10.1 percent.
Total shipments are expected to decline by an additional 3.8 percent in 2014 before turning slightly positive in the longer term. PC shipments will remain above 300 million. Even in emerging markets – a primary growth engine of the PC market – shipments are projected to decline in 2014 and recover by only a few percent during the forecast.
IDC noted that interest in PCs has remained limited, leading to little indication of positive growth beyond replacement of existing systems.
“Perhaps the chief concern for future PC demand is a lack of reasons to replace an older system,” said Jay Chou, senior research analyst, Worldwide Quarterly PC Trackers at IDC.
Despite industry efforts, PC usage has not moved significantly beyond consumption and productivity tasks to differentiate PCs from other devices. As a result, PC lifespans continue to increase, thereby limiting market growth.
The emergence of 2-in-1 devices designed to function in both clamshell and slate configurations – many of which will run Windows – along with Windows-based tablets themselves, is expected to provide some new volume for the Windows platform as well as the PC vendors and other parts of the traditional PC ecosystem in coming years.
The Windows-based tablet market is expected to grow to 40.8 million units in 2017 from less than 9 million in 2013 and less than 1 million in 2011. However, relative to a PC market size of roughly 300 million units, these Windows tablets would add just a couple percent a year relative to PC growth.
Windows devices are projected to account for 10 percent of a combined PC & Windows Tablet market by 2016 – making them an important growth segment for the PC ecosystem.