PC sales fell by 2.4% to 62.2 million units in the first quarter of 2017 when compared with the same period in 2016. Two main reasons were initially put forward to explain the declining customer demand; 1) Improved versatility and preference for alternate devices (i.e. phones and tablets) 2) Legacy PC’s simply are not as out of date anymore after a couple of years, you can effectively stretch their lifespan a few years longer before you start to see significant dips in performance meaning you have to upgrade.
These sales figures represent sales as a whole and is not split into consumers and business. In the business PC market there was actually a modest growth and in business the PC is still the main work device for business. This demonstrates that manufacturers will have to focus on business PC’s in the future as the consumer market is shrinking, being a key player in the business market will be a key to success.
In the consumer market companies can try to shift focus onto niche areas such as high end gaming PC’s – a growing market due partly on the increase of gaming streamers – more and more people see this as a viable way of making a living, but to do so they need serious PC power. Another niche area – this time in the business market is ruggedized tablets – as we begin to realise the potential of what can be achieved in the field, paper forms filled out by engineers will soon become a thing of the past. A client we are working with is currently investing in 30 + ruggedised tablets for its engineers. They are deploying the software we have built for them onto these tablets so they can do their work directly in the field, get the customer to sign off and once submitted it passes their work directly and immediately into a database so their clients can be billed – a completely automated solution.
At present the top 5 vendors in the business market are Lenovo, HP, Dell, Asus and Apple.
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Also affecting the PC industry is a price increase which has been put down to component shortages, SSD and DRAM in particular are in short supply. This has had a knock on effect on sales prices and will continue to do so throughout 2017 which could result in a further decline of sales.
All sources of information in this article are from Gartner.