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How’s the overall PC business likely to do this year? Sorry, the glass is half empty.

The latest market forecast from research and analyst company Gartner has worldwide shipments of PCs and tablets this year dropping by 1.2% from 2017.

That’s still 260 million PCs for this year, which is plenty. But it’s less than the 262 million PCs shipped last year.

DRAM undersupplies are still hurting the industry, Gartner says. With prices for those memory parts still high, the average selling prices of many PC systems is also rising. And price, as you know, is the one thing that really gets customers worked up.

Any good news?

Why, yes. As you may know, Microsoft plans to end technical assistance and automatic updates for Windows 7 on Jan. 14, 2020 — 10 years after the OS’s introduction. That means most of your PC customers who have not yet moved to Windows 10 will want to do so before Dec. 2019. That will also be their chance to replace older Win7 PCs.

Multiply that by users around the world, and PC shipments should start picking up. Gartner predicts worldwide PC sales will rise next year to 263 million units, or 3 million units more than it expects to be shipped this year.

Also, ultramobiles. That’s Gartner-ese for lightweight devices including tablets, thin PC and convertibles (2-in-1s and detachables). These include Microsoft’s Surface Pro, Lenovo’s Yoga and Apple’s MacBook Air.

Gartner now predicts that worldwide sales of these lightweight devices will increase 12% this year. If so, that will bring total 2018 shipments of these devices to 65 million units.

Does that count as a glass half full?


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