A new IDC report indicates a bright future for detachable tablets and convertible notebooks while annual PC shipments are likely to decline over the next five years. The research firm predicts global shipments for desktop computers, notebooks, and tablets will reach 418 million units in 2021, a 0.8% drop from the 435 million units shipped in 2016.
The report comes as no surprise as the global PC industry continues to struggle from the exponential uptick in smartphone shipments over the last couple of years. In the fourth quarter of 2015, consumer notebook shipments fell 1%, a mild decrease courtesy of the robust growth in the ultraslim and convertible categories. The detachable segment also saw a year-over-year decline of 26.1% in the fourth quarter of 2016 due to lack of product modernization, according to IDC. Nonetheless, IDC expects the tablet market to recover over the next five years, thanks to the growing popularity of detachable devices.
Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst, Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers, explains:
Regardless of what marketers are saying, detachable tablets are simply not putting pressure on notebooks yet. Consumers are just starting to graduate from old, consumption-based, slate tablets to a more productive detachable tablet. At the same time, the benefits of having a thin, touch-sensitive, productivity-based machine is shining light on the traditional PC category, causing vendors and consumers to focus on more premium devices in the convertible and ultraslim space.
Notebooks are expected to become the preferred device among many users over the next few years due to its more mobile experience. These notebooks merge the productivity offered by desktops and mobility inherent to tablets.
Jay Chou, research manager, Worldwide Personal Computing Device Tracker, says:
As the tablet market works through the challenges of a maturing user base, the notebook ecosystem has seen success in assimilating a more mobile experience to the form factor while retaining its inherent superiority in the content creation arena, which remains critical for commercial buyers. Absent major external forces, IDC believes the notebook and traditional PC market overall will see relatively stable volumes with some growth in more mobile designs offset by declines in less mobile products.
Are you using detachable tablets or notebooks? Does IDC’s forecast surprise you? Share your thoughts in the comments.