Even Windows XP Couldn't Save PC Market

Written by Oonagh Reidy     11/04/2014 | 09:15 | Category: DESKTOP PCS

Windows XP migrants offers slight boost to ailing market - but not enough, warn analysts

Even Windows XP Couldn73.4 million PC's were shipped globally in 1Q14, a 4.4% decline from 2013, according to IDC.

However, it was better than analyst expectations of a -5.3% decline.

Migration from Windows XP, which Microsoft ended support for on April 8th provided a slight boost to sluggish PC demand in the first quarter, and slowing demand for tablets constrained "drastic" cutbacks in notebooks.

Commercial PC refreshes received a last push from the impending end of Windows XP support, particularly in Japan, but overall the Asia Pacific PC market is in decline. Figures show XP is still among the No. 2 most popular OS's on desktops globally.

Although demand for tablets has softened, consumers are still favouring iPads and smartphones over notebooks and desktops, and there seems little shop of a resurge in the PC market, anytime soon, analysts warn. The global PC decline is now in its eight consecutive quarter. 

"The passing boost from XP replacements, constrained consumer demand, and no clear driver of a market rebound are expected to keep growth below zero going forward," said Rajani Singh, IDC Analyst, Personal Computing. 

"A rebound in consumer or a continuation of accelerated commercial upgrades could boost growth slightly, but low demand for upgrades in general combined with competition from tablets and 2-in-1 systems limit the growth potential."

Lenovo was the king of PCs in first quarter, with 18% marketshare, while HP remained a close second on 17% - a company who made a massive push on Windows 7 PCs, of late. Dell grew over almost 10% in the first quarter, its highest rate since 4Q11 due to a revamped channel strategy - with greater focus on partners and solutions as well as use of PC sales as part of broader solutions. However, Acer slipped again in Q1. 

The transition to mobile devices is unlikely to stop, although the short term impact on PC shipments may slow - already occurring in mature regions. PC shipment growth in the United States remained slightly faster than most other regions in the first quarter, and continued to stabilize but with near zero growth. 

'Lackluster'

Most markets in Asia/Pacific were lackluster as demand fell by double digits, marking two years of declines for the region. There has been cautious channel intake although pockets of retail are showing signs of mild pick up in AP, IDC notes.