PC market outlook improves mildly with faster shift to slim and convertible models, according to IDC


Dec 1, 2016

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., November 30, 2016 – Worldwide PC shipments are forecast to decline by 6.4% year over year in 2016, according to an updated forecast from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. This is an improvement over August's projection for a decline of 7.2% in 2016. While IDC's outlook for 2017 remains at -2.1% year-over-year growth, the absolute volumes are slightly higher based on stronger 2016 shipments.

The third quarter of 2016 (3Q16) saw a year-over-year decline in shipments of 4.6%, more than 2 percentage points ahead of expectations. Although factors such as the transition to Windows 10 played a role, the 3Q16 gains came largely as a result of stronger momentum in the United States, Western Europe, and Japan, and were driven by channel build up in anticipation of component shortages in areas such as display panels and storage. This is expected to slightly boost shipments into early 2017, but will not carry into later periods.

Beyond 2016, the PC shipment outlook has been raised slightly, and continues to trend toward stabilization with modest commercial growth starting in 2018. Commercial notebook shipments are expected to grow during 2016 and throughout the forecast, with a peak at 3.7% in 2019. Commercial desktop growth is expected to be effectively flat by 2018, while consumer notebook and desktop shipments are expected to decline slightly throughout the forecast.

Competition from tablets and smartphones continues to ease as those markets mature. Nevertheless, overlap in usage and converging designs is accelerating the shift in notebooks to ultra slim and convertible designs, which are now expected to account for almost 63% of notebook shipments by 2020. Combining detachable tablets with PCs, the market is projected to decline by 3.2% in 2016 with small positive growth in later years.

"The PC market continues to perform close to expectations," said Loren Loverde, vice president, Worldwide Tracker Forecasting and PC research. "Some volatility in emerging regions is being offset by incremental gains in larger mature markets while the interaction with tablets and phones is stabilizing. We continue to see steady progression toward smaller desktops and notebooks as replacement buying helps stabilize overall shipments in the coming years."

"Despite continued weakness in the consumer segment, the U.S. PC market is showing some signs of stability in the near future with some sources of optimism for the long haul," said Neha Mahajan, senior research analyst, Devices & Displays. "Backed by early Windows 10 transitions that are expected to boost commercial PC shipments in the next couple of years, and steady growth of PCaaS (PC as a Service) which should help shorten refresh cycles of commercial systems in the long-term, the overall U.S. PC market sentiment certainly seems to be improving."

PC Shipments by Product Category and Region (Shipments in millions)

Product Category Region 2016 Shipments (M)* Market Share* 2020 Shipments (M)* Market Share* 5-Year CAGR
Desktop Mature 39.1 15.1% 30.6 12.3% -5.9%
Emerging 64.4 25.0% 62.5 25.0% -0.7%
Desktop Total 103.5 40.1% 93.1 37.2% -2.6%
Notebook Mature 87 33.70% 83.5 33.0% -1.0%
Emerging 67.7 26.2% 73.4 29.4% 2.0%
Notebook Total 154.7 59.9% 156.9 62.8% 0.4%
Total PC Mature 126.1 48.8% 114.1 45.7% -2.5%
Emerging 132.1 51.2% 135.9 54.3% 0.7%
Grand Total 258.2 100.0% 250 100.0% -0.8%

Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, November 2016

*Forecast data

Table Note: Mature Markets include U.S., Western Europe, Japan, and Canada. Emerging Markets include Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan), Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), Middle East, and Africa (MEA).

Taxonomy Note: PCs include Desktop, Mini Notebook and other Portable PCs that possess non-detachable keyboards and do not include handhelds or tablets such as the Apple iPad, Microsoft Surface Pro, or Android Tablets.


IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker gathers PC market data in more than 80 countries by vendor, form factor, brand, processor brand and speed, sales channel and user segment. The research includes historical and forecast trend analysis as well as price band and installed base data.

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