Analysts at Canalys predict that Windows PCs will see a 5 percent decline in unit shipments, largely due to the poor outlook for laptop sales and resistance to Windows 8. See: Laptop reviews and PC reviews
Canalys predicts that from 2014 to 2016 the PC industry will see a shift in form-factor mix, as consumers in both mature and high-growth markets become interested in new PC designs based on touchscreens.
It expects the tablet market will grow by 37 percent on average each year between 2012 and 2016, with volumes reaching 389 million units, accounting for 59 percent of total PC shipments.
This growth will be driven by Apple’s iPad and iPad mini, low-cost, content-subsidized Android products, and Windows-based hybrid PCs such as Microsoft’s Surface Pro.
Canalys believes that the hybrid form factor adds value to tablets, enabling a greater level of productivity and will further encourage the shift from laptops to tablets.
“Pads and, increasingly, smartphones can perform many of the day-to-day computing tasks that most people require,’ said Pin-Chen Tang, Canalys Research Analyst.
“Wintel PCs are becoming less likely as an individual’s first choice of computing device for everyday tasks, such as sending email or web browsing.”
“The launch of Windows 8 did not reinvigorate the market in 2012, and is expected to have a negative effect as we move into 2013.
“Windows 8 is so different to previous versions that most consumers will be put off by the thought of having to learn a new OS,” highlighted Canalys Research Analyst Tom Evans.
“An additional barrier is the potential increase in cost that Windows 8 brings, as it is perceived that a PC with a touchscreen is needed to get the best user experience. In the current economic climate, this will be enough to make people delay purchases as they wait for prices to fall.”
“The combination of Windows 8 and Ultrabooks has been the catalyst for notebook form-factor innovation, but what was becoming a routine purchase is now more complex,” said Canalys Analyst Tim Coulling.
“Now buyers must decide between an Ultrabook and a standard notebook, a touchscreen and a non-touchscreen, as well as an increasing array of form-factors, such as clamshell, convertible and hybrid. This added complexity will make purchases more considered and lengthen the sales process.”
“It is clear that Microsoft is now pushing touch as the primary input method for Windows, but keyboard and mouse are still needed for legacy applications,” added Coulling.
“Following the launch of the iPhone, the shift from keypad/keyboard to touch input on smart phones was rapid. The popularity of pads and the inevitable decline in touch-panel prices will cause the same trend to emerge in the PC market.”