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Windows 7 refresh driving commercial PC market

Forecasts from IDC indicate that the Windows 7 refresh is going to help keep the momentum going in the commercial PC market

The commercial PC market is set to have a stable year with the end of support for Windows 7 spurring customers onto making hardware upgrades.

The resilience of the commercial market has been a feature of the last 18 months with initially Windows 10 acting as a catalyst and now the prospect of support ending for the OS that is still popular among the user base. But throughout the period the consumer market has been weak and that is not set to change over the rest of this year.

IDC has been making forecasts for 2019 and the analyst house is expecting this year to see 71.3m shipments of traditional OPCSD across EMEA, which would be a 0.4 year on year decline, thanks to the declines in the consumer space.

CPU shortages have been one of the issues in the market and although those should ease by the end of the first half there are concerns from IDC that it might have a "moderate effect on overall volume", particularly with the back-to-school demand.

The silver lining to that cloud is that Windows 7 end of life early next year, and the analyst house is expecting renewal cycles to drive the commercial market in both public and private sectors throught the course of 2019.

"Despite the ongoing CPU supply chain shortage and political uncertainties, the Western European PC market has proven to be resilient in 2019Q1," said Malini Paul, research manager, IDC Western European Personal Computing Devices.

"The market is expected to gain further stability in the forthcoming quarters, thanks to continuous strong demand from large and medium-sized businesses through to the end of 2019 ahead of the end of life of Windows 7 in January 2020," she added.

The SME segment of the market is expected to be a strong source of income for those selling hardware with the preference for a traditional PC product still holding up across a lot of those customers.

Those in the channel selling into the consumer space will know how difficult it has been and those challenges are set to continue as the market deals with high inventory levels after a weak holiday season. Users are also keen on extending the life cycles of their products, which is adding more pressure.

In the Computer Weekly/TechTarget IT Priorities survey, which came out in February, 52% of the 134 people interviewed in the UK said they would migrate to Windows 10 this year. The figures for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) are similar, with 44% of the 762 respondents planning a desktop migration to Windows 10.

Migrating off Windows 7 has topped the Computer Weekly/TechTarget IT Priorities survey of desktop initiatives for the past few years as businesses continue to upgrade their desktop IT.

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