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Versatile mobile devices set for growth

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Western European personal computing devices (PCDs), including traditional PCs (a combination of desktop, notebook, and workstations) and tablets (slates and detachables), will total 76,4-million shipments in 2017, a 6,1% year on year (YoY) decline, according to International Data Corporation (IDC).
However, some product categories, such as convertibles, ultraslims, and detachables, will continue to expand and will undergo 19,1% growth in 2017, with convertibles being the smallest in volumes but catching up the fastest (31,3% YoY growth).
This outlines a stark shift in consumer and enterprise preferences from traditional solutions to thinner, lighter, and more versatile mobile solutions. In 2017, the traditional PC market will contract by 9%, while tablets will experience a 2,2% decline.
Traditional solutions will continue to retain the majority of share thanks to their affordability and ability to address price-sensitive customers. More evolved and flexible solutions are gaining traction, representing an opportunity to reach market stabilisation.
The Mobile World Congress saw a stack of new products being launched, in particular a significant number of detachable announcements. Some of the most established brands like Samsung, HP, Lenovo, and Panasonic showcased new models, confirming the confidence industry players lay on detachables. The announced models will target different market segments. This alludes to the versatility of detachables in terms of user scenarios, on which they can replace notebooks.
“As the offer on the market expands, as demonstrated by the various launches at MWC, and as users become accustomed to these devices, detachables will naturally grow,” says Daniel Gonçalves, senior research analyst at IDC Western Europe Personal Computing.
Interest in solutions with a screen that can be detached will continue to progress in the coming year and toward 2021. “Detachables are expected to regain momentum after a growth slowdown in 2016H2,” Gonçalves adds. “One of the main constraints IT departments have to face when adopting detachables is multiple OS management. As Windows 10 becomes more popular across enterprises, the adoption of detachables is poised to accelerate in 2018 in particular.”
In the traditional PC space, there is major focus on ultraslims and convertibles. “Thin and light solutions or devices with screens that can be flipped or folded are under the spotlight,” says Andrea Minonne, research analyst at IDC Western Europe Personal Computing. “Ultraslims and convertibles allow end users to adapt devices to their mobile needs, to easily carry their PCs around, and to use them flexibly anytime anywhere.
“Preferences are shifting and this trend is reflected in the uptake of convertibles and ultraslims in the consumer and commercial notebook mix. Their share of the PCD market will grow from 25% in 2017 to 36% in 2021.”
Despite versatility and mobility continuing to increase interest and drive shipments, the PCD market will experience several market challenges amid all the current political and economic uncertainties. The first half of 2017 will witness price increases resulting from currency fluctuations and component price increases.
“However, with mobility being one of the top priorities for business transformation, enterprises are likely to be the early adopters of the new generation of thin and attractive devices,” says Malini Paul, senior research analyst at IDC Western Europe Personal Computing Besides, the offerings of enhanced security and high performance will be the key aspects boosting the uptake of these form factors in the commercial space.”