Over the past decade smartphone shipments have skyrocketed, while shipments of traditional PCs have declined. In fact, research firm IDC reports that 2017 marked the 6th straight year where PC shipments declined.

But there’s some good news for PC makers (and folks who want to make sure companies continue cranking out PCs): that decline wasn’t all that large. And shipments actually ticked up a bit in the fourth quarter of 2017, marking the first time in 6 years that shipments were up during the holiday season (compared with the previous year).

All told, IDC says 70.6 million personal computers were shipped around the world between October and December of 2017. That’s up 0.7 percent from the same period a year earlier, and better than IDC had anticipated.

Overall PC shipments for 2017 were 0.2 percent lower than in 2016, but IDC says that small decline “makes 2017 the most stable year the market has seen since 2011.”

It’s also worth noting that everything mentioned above is about global shipments. IDC says fourth quarter shipments of notebooks and desktops were both down in the US during the period, while notebook sales picked up in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Japan also saw an increase, and IDC says demand was stronger than expected in the Asia Pacific region.

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8 replies on “IDC: PC shipments down for 6th year, but the market is stabilizing”

  1. WinTel PCs have less than 50% market share. That number will get even lower, thanks to Meltdown.

  2. Anyone notice the stability in the market and bump up in units coincided directly with the release of AMD Ryzen cpu’s and the (finally) competitive Intel 8th-gen cpu’s?

    No, just me?

    1. I noticed. But, mobos for 8th gen were pricey, and Ryzen… If check Steam HW Survey, AMD declined almost 3 times for half-year period. Intel is pricey, but for latest 3 PCs I got it used with heavy discoount. Haswell mobo+core i7-4770 for mere $160, looks like bargain deal for me in mid-2017. And before I got Core i5-3330+mobo+4GB RAM stick for $120 in mid-2016. I’ll never buy any Intel CPU from the shelf.

  3. The numbers look pretty good (about 270+ million a year), actually, despite the lack of general workhorse machines. By this, I mean that everytime I look at laptops – I see highend units selling for about $1k & up and lowend stuff that’s going to be computationally stressed out in a few years (obsolete).

    There are few middle-ground units that are loaded with ports, massive local storage – like we used to get. Maybe it’s just me, but this was always my sweet spot. Systems with decent bang for the buck. I always find myself having to settle or compromise a lot more these days on hardware. Even the highend stuff forces me to compromise – sometimes on ports or local storage or even decent sound.

    1. You may want to look at business lines, they usually have more of a middle ground workhorse style. Take for instance Dell’s smaller screen size end of the market. You could get an XPS 13 with TB3 and 2 USB A ports, or you could get a latitude 5280 (12″) with 2 USB A ports alongside HDMI, RJ45, VGA, though it does drop TB3 for just displayport over USB-C. It even takes a 2.5″ drive and an M.2 SSD.

      Basically your desires are in line with businesses and go completely against the average consumer desire which is for thin, light, long-lasting, and fast (so no VGA, no HDDs). If they want ethernet they buy a £5 adapter rather than sacrifice thin or light. If they want storage they spend £40 on a USB HDD rather than sacrifice thin, light or long-lasting. I think they may be right, I’ve got no use for HDMI on my laptop except when it’s at a desk and then I might as well use a dock that does other things like charge my laptop.

      1. 8P8C (aka RJ45) has height 8.3mm. Okay, socket for it should have at least 1mm on each side, so 10.3mm. Is it truly not fit almost any laptop? Nope. There are a few, which ones 8P8C socket didn’t fit, but I don’t mind them, like LG YogaBook. They have their physical limitations and I’m ok with it.
        My old smartphone has 9.2mm thickness and still has user replacable/removable battery. What’s next? Different connections. I don’t understand, why we have empty edges, while could have a plenty of different sockets on each side. I have 3 USB on my Dell 3137 netbook, and sometimes and I want another one. Okay, I understand why they dropped VGA (though it most spreading graphics connector in the World), it now dropped from Intel, AMD and nVidia graphics adapters, but why they used mini or micro-hdmi I don’t get and we are now in need of adapter. And even then, why do not provide DP opportunity. And yeah, even D-Sub 15 (VGA) socket has about 10mm height, so, there is no magic to include D-Sub to thin laptop. And even if your laptop thinner than most, you can left 2cm beyond screen and use it for 8P8C adapter. No fancy opening 180 or 360*, but you can manage to place any connectors in this case. Like they did in Aorus X3 Plus v7-CF1 (placed 8P8C on the rear side).

    2. Massive local storage isn’t really necessary any more outside of a few specific use cases — with gaming being the main one, and that’s not really a laptop thing. Streaming and cloud services have pretty much put an end most people’s need for more than a 256GB to 512GB SSD in their laptop.

      Obsolescence in terms of speed, memory and disk capacity is also becoming less of an issue. I’ve had my current laptop (a Thinkpad T430) four years now, which is twice as long as my previous three laptops, and while it is no speed demon, it is still perfectly adequate for everything I use it for, from a development machine to an HTPC plugged into my TV. The only thing it can’t do is 4K video, but my smart TV does that on the few occasions I’m watching it.

      The battery issue is an important one, of course.

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