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Businesses appear ready to say goodbye to their trusty, yet aging Windows 7 PCs, spelling good news for vendors.
The PC market will grow modestly next year in the face of accelerating business demand for Windows 10 PCs, said market analyst firm Gartner in its latest forecast. "Despite the fact that prices have been rising due to higher component costs, Windows 10 replacements have kept the PC market relatively stable through 2017," observed Gartner research director Ranjit Atwal in an Oct. 17 announcement.
"We estimate that the PC market (desk-based, notebook and ultramobiles) is set to return to 0.8 percent growth in 2018," Atwal added.
PC shipments will total 265 million units in 2018, up from 263 million this year. In 2019, vendors are expected to ship 269 million PCs, falling just short of the 270 units shipped in 2016. This category includes traditional desktops, notebooks and premium ultramobile devices like the Microsoft Surface Pro and Apple MacBook Air.
Shipments of traditional desktops and laptops will continue to slip, from 204 million in 2017 to 195 million next year, a 4.4-percent decline. Premium ultramobile PCs will pick up the slack, jumping to 70 million in 2018 from 59 million this year.
Microsoft's overtures to the Chinese government will help boost sales in the populous country, according to Gartner.
Noting that the Redmond, Wash. software giant is working on a government-approved version of Windows 10 for the Chinese market, Atwal said the operating system's features could be useful for the region's government, which "is looking to move from desktops and notebooks to ultramobile premium devices. We expect this development to positively impact the PC market in 2018."
Russia is also lending a hand. An improving economic picture there is expected to increase business spending on PCs, particularly the desktop variety, by five percent this year. Gartner predicts that Russian companies will help keep that momentum going into 2018.
In total, the device market including PCs, basic ultramobiles (tablets, Chromebooks and the like) and mobile phones will see shipments rise from 2.3 billion units in 2017 to 2.35 billion in 2018—a 2.4-percent jump--before settling at 2.36 billion in 2019. In the mobile phone category, smartphones will account for 86 percent of all shipments in 2018, a six-percent annual increase.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.