Finally, the PC market is growing more stable

The PC refresh cycle will ensure shipments don't drop too far, Canalys explains

Research by Canalys has revealed the PC market is stabilising, despite sales declining 2.1% to 398 million units by the end of 2018. Although shipments are set to reduce once again, it's the lowest rate of decline for the last four years.

Businesses migrating to Windows 10 are realising the need to update their hardware, away from Intel Skylake-generation microarchitectures, while consumers are starting to refresh their PCs, choosing to buy high-performance models such as gaming PCs, Chromebooks and convertibles that offer more flexible hardware.

Commercial customers will continue to be a major factor in PC sales levelling off as we head into 2019, Canalys explained. Vendors will need to keep their head to the ground and target those businesses that are still using Windows 7, while also ensuring they stay ahead of their competitors, offering new services such as Device as a Service (DaaS) to lock in customers.

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"Shifting from a transactional to contractual model is a major operational challenge for customers and channel partners, and this will prevent DaaS becoming a major revenue stream in the near-term," Canalys Research analyst Ishan Dutt said. "And finally, several vendors will invest to grow the Chrome OS platform outside of the United States this year, with a specific focus on the education sector." 

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Component costs will likely cause PC prices to increase in the short-term, although those seeking higher-performance machines for applications such as gaming will be happy to pay the higher prices in order to carry out their hobby.

"Despite the [consumer] sector's weak performance, there are lower barriers to entry from a channel perspective compared with the commercial sector," Dutt added. "Huawei and Xiaomi are already attempting to disrupt selected markets, but neither yet has a range of products or channel partners to trouble the incumbents."

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