The outlook for PCs looks pretty grim in 2015, according to data released by Gartner.
The market research outfit said that PCs and ultra mobiles will deliver revenues of $226 billion this year, but that will be a 7.2 percent decline.
You have to take the current strength of the US dollar into account, Gartner warned, but even after that, the global market will show a 3.1 percent drop during the year.
Gartner forecasts that so called traditional PCs – that includes desktops and notebooks – will fall from 252,881,000 units this year, to 236,341,000 units in 2017.
The firm said that PC vendors are raising their prices to stay profitable but this is having a Catch 22 effect because it’s forcing customers to keep their purses tightly closed. Home users are also not expected to lash out on new devices.
Mobile phones will grow by 3.5 percent during this year and Gartner believes that rather than buy PCs, people will buy smartphones instead. Tablet sales will suffer because of that.
Roberta Cozza, a research director at Gartner, said: “Following rapid growth, the current mature consumer installed base for tablets is comparable to that of notebooks. Not only is the tablet segment nearing saturation in mature markets, but the influx of hybrids and fabulist will compete directly with tablets in emerging markets.”
She seems to think that despite Apple’s high prices, many users of high end Android devices will move to iOS.
Sales of PCs in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region showed growth in the second quarter, stopping a continuous seven quarter decline. That applies to both notebooks and desktop machnes.
So says market research company IDC, which said growth in the quarter amounted to 2.2 percent, up by 4.5 million units.
Oddly, the bulk of the growth came in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Palestine and Afghanistan. Why is that odd? Because, according to Fouad Rafiq Charakla, research manager at IDC, no vendor make any official shipments of PCs into these countries.
Saudi Arabia and Pakisan showed growth in the region. “The healthy shipments seen in most countries can either be attributed to a recovery from instability – be it economic political or social – or to previously low PC penetration rates. Bearing this in mind, Egypt and Nigeria are expected to be among the region’s fastest growing PC markets in 2014,” Charakla said.
The top dogs in the region are HP, Lenovo, and Dell. But the last suffered a shortfall year on year. Acer and Asus came fourth and fifth respectively.
Some channel retailers are expected to switch away from Ivy Bridge based notebooks and back to the classic desktop, on the back of weak industry demand.
Plenty of channel retailers, according to Digitimes, are struggling getting rid of their Ivy Bridge notebook interviews and are taking a cautious approach to placing new orders for the classic back to school period of September and October. This is traditionally serves as a boost for notebook sales, but the economic outlook is having varied depressive effects on the industry in general.
Intel Haswell desktops could account for as much as 30 percent of all desktop shipments for the third quarter, above the 10-20 percent in notebooks, so Digitimes believes channel retailers are pinning their hopes on the former.
Ivy Bridge inventories, still reportedly high, will be the main focus for the channel – so Haswell models with touchscreen features may not be promoted until the beginning of 2014.
If correct, a way to read this is Ivy Bridge PC prices could be knocked down for the back to school period, and almost certainly will become cheaper when efforts are concentrated on Haswell next year.
Cash strapped consumers and cautious businesses may not want to upgrade to the highest end gear either, save enthusiast communities. As a result, there will be an effort to popularise low end gear, with cheaper kit coming out like Atoms in Q3 and more affordable Kabini laptops.
The stagnating and eventually declining demand for the traditional PC desktop has had an inevitable knock-on effect in the monitor industry, with the latest report from analyst house IDC lowering its Q4 2012 estimate from 37.9 million to 36.3 million units.
IDC also lowered total shipment forecasts for 2013 from 142.8 million to 140.1 million units, or a six percent yearly decline. The grim forecast will not be getting any better, with expectations that by 2017 shipments will drop to 122.2 million units.
As with the desktop itself, the booming mobile computing trend is essentially killing off demand for the monitor. IDC pointed to “consumer confusion” about Windows 8 paired with the wider economic situation as pretty solid reasons why people aren’t buying, which means decreased demand going into 2013.
Average selling prices, too, are likely to decline by as much as 1.5 percent per year going through to 2017. Those that are interested in buying will be glad to hear that overcrowded competition will mean companies lowering prices as they try to win custom. Price per inch could decline from $8.35 in 2012 to $7.46 in 2017, which should continue because of what IDC calls the natural migration of users to larger screen sizes. In 2012, the mean screen size was 20.4″, but this should grow to 21.4″ by 2017.
Vendors can boost their margins by looking towards innovation and building consumer value with lower cost monitors. IDC cites Samsung’s PLS technology as an attractive way to seduce custom.
IDC’s senior research analyst, Linn Huang, said that failure to drive innovation in the market will “likely result in the long-term tradeoff of profit margin for volume retention”.
Of the vendors still in the game, Samsung is ahead with 15 percent of the market share. Dell followed with 12.7 percent, and HP, Lenovo, and LG had 10.8 percent, 9.7 percent and 9.6 percent, respectively.