Windows XP upgrades boost business PC market

However, the market as a whole looks set to experience its biggest ever contraction this year.

Windows XP system upgrades have been cited by IDC as a reason why the business PC market is faring better in 2013 than its consumer counterpart.

The market watcher expects worldwide PC shipments to fall by 10.1 per cent this year, which would be the worst annual contraction of the market since records began.

A small decline projected for both consumer and commercial segments in 2014 with near flat growth in the longer term.

The figures paint a bleak picture of the market as a whole, and suggest PC sales stand little chance of bouncing back over the next 12 months.

The forecast, made in its Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, predicts total shipments will fall by a further 3.8 per cent in 2014, before turning "slightly positive" in the longer term.

"At these rates, total PC shipments will remain just above 300 million [units] during the forecast barely ahead of 2008 volumes," said IDC, in a statement.

"Even in emerging markets a primary growth engine of the PC market shipments are projected to decline in 2014 and recover by only a few per cent during the forecast."

The analyst house said the business market has performed better than the consumer sector this year, as shipments were down just five per cent year-on-year. In the latter market, a year-on-year decline of 15 per cent was recorded.

IDC said the performance of the business market has been buoyed by the push for Windows XP users to upgrade their aged systems and the PC investment strategies of CIOs.

"The long-term outlook for the two markets is not significantly different, with a small decline projected for both consumer and commercial segments in 2014 with near flat growth in the longer term," IDC added.

Despite the continued downturn in shipments, Jay Chou, senior research analyst at IDC, said PCs are still used for more hours each day than tablets or smartphones.

"PC usage is nonetheless declining each year as more devices become available. And, despite industry efforts, PC usage has not moved significantly beyond consumption and productivity tasks to differentiate PCs from other devices," explained Chou.

"As a result, PC lifespans continue to increase, thereby limiting market growth."

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