PC sales threatened by power of detachable tablets

A report by IDC has revealed PC sales are declining rapidly, with the number shipped expected to fall 7.3 per cent by the end of the year.

The sector is being threatened in part by sales of detachable tablets, the research firm explained, which often offer comparable specifications at lower prices than standalone laptops. If the projected sales figures are combined with detachable PCs, IDC predicts the market will only contract by two per cent over this year.

Another reason for the decline in shipments is that consumers are delaying the purchase of new computers, instead opting to update machines to Windows 10, rather than buying a new computer, while enterprises are still evaluating whether to make the jump to Windows 10 and kit their employees out with new computers.

"The latest update reflects continuing pressure on PC shipments, but does not significantly change the factors driving the market," saidLoren Loverde, vice president of worldwide tracker forecasting and PC research at IDC.

"In addition, we have now had four consecutive quarters of double-digit volume declines. This type of prolonged slump is unprecedented, and lowers the bar for some improvement going forward. Unfortunately, the PC market still faces some persistent challenges, and for now, improvement continues to mean slower declines."

However, growth rates for smartphones and tablets are also falling, which should relieve some pressure for standalone PCs, although it may not be enough to help boost results next year.

"Although inventory has improved in some markets, channels remain extremely conservative," saidJay Chou, research manager at IDC's worldwide PC tracker unit.

"The economic and competitive pressures are particularly affecting the consumer segment, which is projected to see another year of double-digit declines in 2016, and decline throughout the forecast. In contrast, commercial shipments are projected to decline just 4.4 per cent in 2016 and see slightly positive growth for the next few years."

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.