PC shipments still falling, but much slower than expected

IDC revises its annual forecast for PC shipments: Strong sales in mature markets allows the desktop to live another day

Worldwide PC shipments are expected to fall by 3.7% in 2014, according to new figures from the International Data Corporation (IDC).

The revised prediction is significantly different from the previous forecast which estimated a 6% drop. The data from the Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker suggested that even though shipments in emerging regions remained relatively subdued, the apparent restitution of consumer desktops in developed markets has boosted the outlook for the year.

Windows XP reaching end-of-life has also had a short-term effect on the market, according to the IDC. Upgrades are an inevitable by-product as businesses slowly turn their backs on the legacy OS.

"Programs to reduce PC prices, such as Windows 8.1 with Bing, have helped to improve PC shipments in some segments. Coupled with a shift toward more mobile PCs, the market has seen a quickened pace of innovation and a focus on price points,” said Jay Chou, senior research analyst of Worldwide PC Trackers.

While the short-term health of the PC market is not quite as gloomy as many had predicted, Chou said that the long-term outlook remained bleak.

“Nevertheless, the prospects for significant PC growth in the long term remain tenuous, as users increasingly see PCs as only one of several computing devices," he concluded.

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