It's already a known fact that the PC industry is set to experience its first decline in over a decade due to emerging technologies, but an analyst has warned that the decline will continue for several years to come.
Barclays Capital's hardware analyst Ben Reitzes, who decreased his outlook for the division through 2016, warned that sales of "PCs could decline for many years to come". He blamed several factors for the expected decline such as increased interest in tablets, as well as confusion over Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system.
"We are lowering our 2012-2016 PC forecasts due to weak macro conditions, confusion around Windows 8, ongoing cannibalization from tablets, and an elongation in replacement cycles," Reitzes said in a research note. He blamed the PC industry for not recognizing and adapting to consumers' interest moving towards mobile devices.
We believe a new generation of consumers and IT workers are figuring out how to compute differently than those that started using PC's in the 90's - relying more on mobile devices and the cloud - as PC's see significant "task infringement" by the day. As a result, it can no longer be assumed that the PC market can remain in the range of 350 million units a year - and we argue that the PC replacement cycle is in the process of being elongated by 1-2 years, resulting in the loss of 50-100 million units in annualized demand by 2015. After years of denial, most PC industry players still don't seem to realize what is happening - and don't have contingency plans.
Reitzes' 2012 forecast for PC units sold decreased to 352.75 million units, represent a 3 percent slip. His 2013 prediction stands at 338.34 million, a 4 percent decline from his previous forecast on sales figures for the ailing PC division.
Estimates for the tablet market, meanwhile, increased. 182 million units are expected to be sold in 2013, which was previously 146 million. In 2014, Reitzes increased his 139 million estimate to 230 million.
The analyst expects Apple to dictate the majority of the tablet market, at least through 2016. He stated that Google, Samsung and Amazon "have the ability to expand the non-Apple market quite a bit and we believe these 3 companies can sustain 30-40% share of the market (combined) over the longer term."