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Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Smartphones And Tablets To Challenge PCs In Future

PC sales are expected to face yet another challenging year during 2014 because of pressures from devices such as smartphones and tablets as well as spill-over of economic and political uncertainties of last year, research firm IDC said.

"2014 is expected to remain another challenging year for the PC market, as competition will only grow among the devices," IDC Asia/Pacific Research Manager (Client Devices) Handoko Andi said today. Besides, exchange rate pressures, political risks and economic uncertainties will all likely spill-over into 2014 as well, Andi said in a release.

"That being said, if the big ticket education projects from last year get repeated, or if the Wintel (Windows + Intel) eco-system is able to bring low-price full function PCs to the market, these are all potential upsides that could help drive volumes in the upcoming year," Andi added. Last year, even education projects failed to arrest the decline in PC shipments.

According to IDC, PC sales fell by 10 per cent to 108 million units in 2013 in Asia Pacific (excluding Japan), its second consecutive yearly decline, due to smartphones and tablets cannibalising PC shipments on the consumer side. "The economic sluggishness in big emerging markets in the region adversely affected buying sentiments, with the education sector projects being a lone bright spot in the commercial space, without which the region could have dropped even further," IDC said.

On the consumer side, smartphone and tablet distractions spread throughout the region this year, further contributing to the sharp decline in the PC market, it added. "The year ended on a somber note for the PC market, as it declined for the second consecutive year. Distraction from competing devices, ongoing pessimism in the economy and exchange rate pressures were among the factors impacting the market this year," Andi said. In Q4 of 2013 specifically, the market came in 2 per cent below IDC's initial forecasts with a 9 per cent year-on-year decline, IDC said.

"While, most of the region was generally in line with forecasts, Thailand stood out as an exception, as the market there was plagued by the ongoing political turmoil. Shipment volumes this quarter will likely be the lowest in Thailand in the last four years," it added. In 2013, Lenovo retained its top spot, although it could not shrug off the slump in its home market China, posting an annual decline in 2013 as a result, IDC said.

HP's year-on-year growth in 2013 was almost entirely due to fulfilments for a big education project in India. Weakness in China arrested an otherwise good year for Dell in the region, despite the internal distractions affecting the vendor, it added. ASUS too fell in line with the overall market trend, declining year-on-year, while Acer continued to struggle with its product strategy, declining in nearly all markets in the region this year, IDC said.

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