Personal Computing Devices to Decline Through 2021

Global shipments of personal computing devices (PCD) are expected to decline slightly through 2021, at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of -1.7 percent, according to the latest prediction from International Data Corp. That market segment includes both traditional PCs (desktops, notebooks and workstations) and tablets (slates and detachables).

While the category will decline overall, some devices will experience more growth than others. Detachable tablets and convertible notebooks will see the biggest increase, with a five-year CAGR of more than 14 percent, while ultraslim notebooks are expected to grow 11.8 percent over the same period. Notebook PCs will see just 0.7 percent growth, the IDC forecast predicted.

"Looking at the PCD market collectively can be challenging because of all the different product category trends that are unfolding," said Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Trackers, in a statement. "When looking at tablets we continue to expect that category to decline as the appeal of slate devices diminishes and life cycles for these devices look more like those of PCs four to five years ago. Detachable tablets will continue to grow, but we've reduced the short-term forecast on the assumption that OEMs are making a slower transition from notebook PCs to detachables than previously expected. The good news for this space is that both consumers and commercial buyers are opening up to Windows 10, and we are already at a point where Windows detachables represent more than 50 percent of shipments in the category. This should continue throughout the forecast."

"The traditional PC market continues a steady transition to newer slim and convertible designs," added Loren Loverde, vice president with IDC's Worldwide Personal Computing Device Tracker and Tracker Forecasting. "Nevertheless, commercial and particularly consumer users continue to stretch the life of older PCs — constraining their spending and spreading usage across a portfolio of devices. Shipments could pick up if accelerators like economic conditions, adoption of gaming, VR and Windows 10 speed up, but even in the best case, overall growth would likely remain limited."

For more information on IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker, go to the IDC site.

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Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].