Canalys: PC market showing signs of stabilising

Windows 10, DaaS and some clever targeting on the consumer side of the PC market are helping get some stability back

Windows 10 upgrades continue to be a major driver for hardware vendors looking to increase corporate sales of PCs and Device as a Service (DaaS) is another option for those firms looking to come to the market with a fresh angle.

An analysis of the global PC and tablet shipments from Canalys is forecasting a 2.1% decline this year, which is set to be the smallest reduction for the last four years and should usher in a period of stability.

One of the main reasons why the market as a whole is looking to get back on a more even keel is because of what is happening on the consumer side of things.

The consumer end of the market has been a major problem over the last 18 months and although demand will remain weak the decision by vendors to get canny and focus on specific areas, like gaming machines, is starting to pay some dividends.

There could also be some more brands for the channel to get to grips with at that end of the customer spectrum, according to Canalys research analyst Ishan Dutt.

"Despite the sector’s weak performance, there are lower barriers to entry from a channel perspective compared with the commercial sector. Huawei and Xiaomi are already attempting to disrupt selected markets, but nether yet has a range of products or channel partners to trouble the incumbents," he said.

But for most in the channel the corporate market is of more importance and Dutt had some comments about how growth might be gained there.

“Commercial customers will be a vital driver for PC shipments in 2018,” he added “Vendors now have several strategic options for achieving growth. Firstly, several vendors are now tracking their customers that are still running Windows 7 and will specifically target these accounts with sales teams. Secondly, vendors will invest further in Device as a Service (DaaS) offerings, which lock-in PC refresh cycles."

Although DaaS is a concept that some of the major manufacturers are pushing there are challenges for resellers to deal with.

"Shifting from a transactional to contractual model is a major operational challenge for customers and channel partners, and this will prevent DaaS becoming a major revenue stream in the near-term," said Dutt.

Another area that should reap some growth, and has already caught the eye of some distributors, is the option to push the Chromebook product line into some verticals, with education one of the main targets.

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