PC Gaming Hardware Market Worth Double Console Market

The PC Gaming hardware market has been going from strength to strength over the last few years. The general PC market has declined as tablets, smartphones and notebooks have taking over consumers’ everyday computing needs but the PC gaming hardware market has continued to buck the broader trend. The latest research by analytic firm Jon Peddie Research says the PC gaming hardware market is now worth a staggering $21.5 billion which is double the value of the console gaming market. Significant demand has occurred in the market for things like upgrade parts for gaming PCs, such as new graphics cards and CPUs, as well as for peripherals and accessories, like headsets, keyboards and mice. As senior analyst of Jon Peddie Research notes:

“Committed PC gamers are generally not interested in pure content consumption platforms. They are power users and pay thousands for the ability to play games at very high settings and then do business, video/photo editing, content creation and other tasks with maximum horsepower at their disposal in a desktop ergonomic environment.”

By 2017 the PC gaming hardware market is expected to grow further from $21.5 billion to $23.2 billion. President of Jon Peddie Research, Jon Peddie himself, noted that the PC gaming platform would continue to grow and keep the PC market flowing as gaming PCs continually increase in power, leaving consoles biting the dust:

“Nvidia, Intel and AMD have enthusiast CPU and GPUs that are so powerful that, when combined with SSDs and fast memory, they absolutely trounce the computing power and gaming capabilities of the newest console generation…Being able to drive 3840×2160 (4K) is already a reality for the highest end configurations and the mass market is now able to push 2560×1440. PC gamers with good displays are able to enjoy millions and millions of pixels more than console gamers get on HDTVs. This translates into being able to see more and an overall better gaming experience.”

Source: Jon Peddie Research, Via: MCVUK

Image courtesy of Origin/CyberPowerPC

Gartner Believes PC Industry Will Receive Brief Reprieve in 2014

Shipment of PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones will grow 4.2 percent from 2013, reaching 2.4 billion units this year, according to research group Gartner.

It’s a welcome sign for PC OEMs, trying desperately to get consumers and businesses to upgrade their computers, which have a longer lifespan.  For those shopping for new PCs, they will find a number of competitively-priced models that should pique their interest, as the devices should last a minimum of five years.

Even though the PC business is expected to do better than previously, tablets should still outsell PCs in 2015, researchers note.

Here is what Ranjit Atwal, Gartner Research Director, said in a recent statement:

”2014 will be marked by a relative revival of the global PC market.  Business upgrades from Windows XP and the general business replacement cycle will lessen the downward trend, especially in western Europe.  This year, we anticipate nearly 60 million professional PC replacements in mature markets.”

Meanwhile, the tablet market is expected to slow down in 2014 while reaching 256 million units – but is still estimated to reach 320 million units next year, which will be higher than the traditional PC business unit.  However, analysts also believe tablet manufacturers are going to cannibalize their own market, with consumers keeping mobile devices longer – but with growing cost, many owners end up sharing their devices with friends or family.

Thank you to Gartner for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of New Anglia

IDC Says Tablet Shipments Will Overtake Total PC Shipments In 2015

A new report by the International Data Corporation (IDC) believes that shipments of tablets will eventually overtake that of PCs by the end of 2015 if data is measured on an annual basis. If looked at on a quarterly basis tablet PCs will drastically out-sell PCs in the last quarter of this year thanks to the festive season. In 2013 PC shipments, of desktop and portable PCs, will still be higher than tablets but the gap between the two is closing rapidly.

The figures make grim reading for PC vendors as PCs gradually become phased out of the overall market. IDC do however imply there is room for growth in the portable PC market which is certainly a way for PC vendors to adapt and survive. Tablet PCs will continue their relentless growth alongside smartphones, both of which are growing rapidly at the expense of PCs. Only desktop PCs will decline between now and 2017. IDC claims the majority of smartphones and tablets worldwide come from the sub $350 tablet and smartphone segments.

Tablet PCs aren’t insulated from the onslaught of smartphones either as IDC expect larger smartphones with 5+ inch displays, commonly referred to as Phablets, to eat into the market share of 7 and 8 inch tablet devices. This will contribute to a slowing of the rate of overall tablet growth. Over the next 12-18 months this “cannibalisation” of small tablet market share by large smartphones will become more evidence according to IDC. IDC expects the overall market to increase by 58.1% between now and 2017 with the average selling price of devices falling from $462 to $323.

Image courtesy of cnmeonline.com

IDC Lowers PC Market Outlook Again – Gloomy Predictions

IDC (International Data Corporation) have updated their yearly forecast for the PC Market in 2013 – and things do not look good. The negative growth estimates have been revised down even lower and now the worldwide PC shipments are expected to drop by 9.7%. IDC expect continued decline until 2015 at the earliest making this the longest period of prolonged decline for the PC in history. Apparently in 2015 we may only see very modest single digit PC shipment growth and it is quite possible that decline will continue past 2015.

What are the factors behind this further decline? Well IDC reports stubbornly depressed consumer interest and a loss of market share to the expansion of mobile devices and tablets. The main changes to this figure come from the dramatic decline of the PC shipments in emerging markets like China.

“The days where one can assume tablet disruptions are purely a First World problem are over,” said Jay Chou, Senior Research Analyst, Worldwide Quarterly PC Trackers at IDC. “Advances in PC hardware, such as improvements in the power efficiency of x86 processors remain encouraging, and Windows 8.1 is also expected to address a number of well-documented concerns. However, the current PC usage experience falls short of meeting changing usage patterns that are spreading through all regions, especially as tablet price and performance become ever more attractive.”

If growth were to return IDC expects it to come from modest consumer refresh trends. In recent years these refresh-lifecycles have dramatically lengthened as computing power is currently substantial enough to avert upgrades, businesses are reluctant to look beyond Windows XP and Windows 7 and people find that their tablets and smartphones can cater for most of their needs.

Images courtesy of IDC

Second Tier Notebook Vendors Being Marginalised Says Report

Digitimes has revealed that the fortunes of tier two notebook vendors are falling somewhat. In simple terms tier two, or second tier, notebook vendors are those vendors who are below the top ten in terms of sales. Digitimes claims that because of such limited successes among second tier vendors a lot of them have withdrawn from the market to product other things – like tablets for example. Apparently Intel has tried to help many through tough times but it simply hasn’t been enough:

“Intel has always actively nurtured second-tier notebook vendors. Although Intel has tried to help them pass the crisis, first-tier vendors’ fierce price competition and aggressive entry in emerging markets are forcing second-tier vendors to seek new business opportunities.”

The situation isn’t projected to get any better either as the PC market continues to drop every year as tablets become more popular. In 2000 second tier vendors made up 30% of the market, in 2005 that had fallen to less than 20% and this year that figure is projected to fall to only 10%. What this means is that as the overall market contracts in size only the big vendors can afford to survive – the likes of Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Toshiba and so on.

Image courtesy of Clevo

Acer Reportedly Planning To Give Up On All Windows Operating Systems

Acer has known to be struggling in recent times and you only have to look at the figures below to see how significant the decline has been. Acer have seen a huge slump in sales over the past few years and they have done significantly worse than all other PC vendors. The Register reports that Acer is now ready to say adios to Windows to take a bold new strategy.

Acer will apparently stop using Windows operating systems altogether in the medium to long term. Acer wants to capitalise on the continual growth of Android and the Chrome OS. In the short-term it hopes that by the end of this year Android product sales will make up 10 to 12% of its revenues.  Acer revealed these new plans as the company announced a relatively modest operating loss of $20.5 million.

“We are trying to grow our non-Windows business as soon as possible. Android is very popular in smartphones and dominant in tablets… I also see a new market there for Chromebooks…For the PC industry, I haven’t seen light at the end of the tunnel. First, we have to sustain our market share and protect our bottom line … and by doing tablets and smartphones right, we can be prepared for the day after tomorrow”, said Acer President Jim Wong.

Acer has more or less been at loggerheads with Microsoft for the past few years. It has attacked Microsoft for the Windows 8 operating system creating lacklustre sales and poor overall financial performance for many Microsoft partners. Furthermore it also attacked Microsoft’s decision to start producing hardware, notably the Surface tablets, accusing Microsoft of trying to steal market share of its partners.

Image courtesy of Acer


Analysts Urge Microsoft To Cut Price Of Windows Operating Systems

As the decline of Windows in the global computing market continues to accelerate research firm Canalys has said that it believes Microsoft needs to lower the price of Windows to compensate. Their latest figures revealed a PC market decline of 7.4% compared to the same period last year and a notebook decline of 13.9% compared to the same period last year. They continued to stress that the high price tag of the Windows operating system is one of the primary reasons why manufacturers cannot make their products more affordable to boost falling sales.

“Component pricing has been an issue, particularly with multi-touch screens, though scale economies make this less of an issue as demand increases,” said Tim Coulling, Canalys senior analyst….The price of Windows itself is a contributing factor and one that Microsoft must address as a matter of urgency. Its PC OEM partners are in an increasingly difficult position and consolidation in the PC market is inevitable within the next 12 months.” said Canalys.

There have been several reoccurring media reports of Microsoft offering substantial discounts (around $20 per device) to OEM partners building particular netbooks, notebooks and tablets with smaller displays. Yet these reports haven’t really materialised and the PC market is continually plagued by sluggish demand for Windows based devices. When companies can produce devices with free open source operating systems it remains to be seen how much longer OEMs will consider Windows a viable option for making profitable products – especially in the tablet market where the free Android OS dominates the expensive Windows OS.

With all that said I couldn’t agree more that Microsoft needs to cut prices if it wants to keep the industry in good shape. What do you think about current Windows pricing?

Image courtesy of Microsoft

One In Three Windows 8 Users Downgrade To Windows 7 Says Report

A report by Paul Thurrott of WinSuperSite.com has revealed some interesting things. He estimates from his data and calculations that there are approximately 88.5 million Windows 8 users out of 1.5 billion PCs – so roughly 6% of PC users run Windows 8. Based on Microsoft’s claims on what it has shipped and sold in terms of Windows 8 licenses Paul Thurrott calculates that 141 million Windows 8 licenses have been shipped to global buyers. However, with only 88.5 million Windows 8 users that means about 50 million licenses have just vanished.

Where have these gone? Paul Thurrott says that this differential proves that one in three Windows 8 users downgrade to Windows 7 and this is proven he says by the fact that Windows 7 has held a more or less constant market share over the last year. Those that actually use Windows 8 and then stick with it mainly seem to be those that have come from older declining operating systems like Windows Vista and Windows XP.

Have you tested Windows 8 and decided to go back to Windows 7? Or do you use Windows 8 and you’ve come from Windows 7?

Image courtesy of Microsoft

Windows 8 Growing In Popularity With Gamers Shows Steam Hardware Survey

The Steam Hardware Survey always gives a good indication of what PC gamers are doing in terms of hardware and software trends. The monthly survey reveals details on all the hardware and software inside Steam users’ PCs. So if you’re interested in seeing if Steam gamers prefer Nvidia or AMD, 4GB or 8GB of RAM and so on then be sure to check it out.

The latest figures from the Steam Hardware Survey reveal that Windows 8 is actually growing reasonably fast among PC gamers using Steam. Windows 8 64 Bit grew by 1.1% taking most of that market share from Windows 7 64 bit which declined by 1.16%. That said most other Windows operating systems declined in market share with only Windows 8 64 bit showing positive growth. Most gamers that left declining Windows operating systems ended up moving to Windows 8 64 Bit, Linux based operating systems or Mac OS X.

So Windows 8 64 bit is popular with gamers. Are there any gamers out there that are using Windows 8 64 bit? Let us know if you are, and let us know why you have chosen Windows 8 64 bit over other operating systems!

Image courtesy of eTeknix via Steam

Windows 8 Experiences Slowest Rate Of Growth In July

Windows 8 experienced a bit of a boost last month with the release of the Windows 8.1 preview but now that all the excitement has died down a bit the latest current OS from Microsoft has returned to slow growth. In fact it recorded just 0.32% of growth during last month according to Net Applications. Windows 7 grew by 0.13% in the same month while Vista dropped 0.35% and XP dropped 0.15%.

Despite Microsoft’s best efforts it is struggling to overcome the inertia of the PC market. Windows XP and Windows 7 still both dominate with 37.02% and 44.50% respectively while Windows 8 is barely struggling to do much better than Windows Vista.

In the grand scheme of things Microsoft also experienced a 0.06% decline in overall market share between June and July losing some ground to Mac OS and Linux.

While every month Windows 8 does grow and has been growing consistently for a while, Microsoft is unlikely to be pleased at how low the rate of growth is. By current rates it could take another year before Windows 8 passes 10% market share so Microsoft will really be counting on Windows 8.1 to give Windows 8 sales that kick up the backside it so sorely needs.

Image courtesy of TNW

Supply Of Displays Out-paces Demand, Prices Expected To Fall

According to the latest figures published by the market analysts iSuppli the demand for large LCD/LED-LCD/IPS displays will be too low to meet demand causing widespread price drops. In terms of figures the period July through September will reportedly see supply exceed demand by approximately 15.9%. This comes after unexpectedly low levels of demand where even the lowest and most pessimistic estimates forecasted a 13.2% oversupply for the same period.

“This is the time of the year when LCD panel makers usually are ramping up production to meet holiday demand for televisions, notebook PCs, tablets and other consumer-oriented electronics,” said Ricky Park, senior manager for large-area displays at IHS. “However, the display industry is confronting the prospect of weak sales growth and a lack of visibility into future demand trends.”

Much of the decline has been encountered by Chinese suppliers who are seeing declining export growth and swelling inventories despite a strong Chinese economy. The Chinese government also terminated its energy saving TV subsidy earlier this year which is further expected to stifle demand.

That said it isn’t all doom and gloom as this year’s holiday season is expected to bring a change of fortunes for the display industry as Christmas and the Winter sales always shift some extra televisions.

Image courtesy of Samsung

Windows Plummets In Global Computing Market, Android Takes Over

While we know Windows based operating systems dominates the “desktop market” with around 91% of market share, the world of computing is much more than that. It includes tablets, smartphones, consoles, servers and so on. With the dramatic decline of PC shipments over the past years and rapid growth of other mobile computing platforms, Windows has been having a hard time. If we take those things into consideration then Business Insider, using Gartner and IDC analytics, suggests that Windows has been plummeting at a staggering rate over the past 4 years.

As the graph demonstrates since 2009 Apple and Android have eaten into the share of most other operating systems including Windows, Blackberry and other Linux based operating systems. Now Android is the single biggest operating system and Apple operating systems are nearly as popular as Windows based ones. With the broader picture in place things look quite dire for Microsoft and Windows. It is no surprise Microsoft are trying really hard to make it big in the mobile market with their Windows Phone OS and close ties with Nokia. Yet that is clearly not working and Microsoft’s decline will continue unless they can find a way to boost the popularity of Windows or cash in on the tablet or PC market.

In terms of the desktop market Microsoft has been losing ground slowly over the same time period but to a much smaller extent. Currently it has 91.5% market share compared to around 7% for Mac OS X and 1.5% for Linux. This has declined from around 94% in 2009. With all things considered then, Microsoft is losing ground in the desktop market and losing huge ground in the global computing market. Things certainly aren’t looking good. What do you think about Microsoft’s fortunes? Are the figures portraying the situation accurately or does it exaggerate things?

Image courtesy of Business Insider

Windows XP’s Death Could Save PC Market Says Analysts

Microsoft’s Windows XP has its support ended on April 14th 2014. As a result of this many business and home users will need to make the shift to a newer operating system. Those operating systems which will outlast XP include Windows 7 , which has mainstream support until January 13th 2015 as well as extended support (for business/enterprise users) until January 14th 2020. Windows Vista has already had mainstream support phased out and so will be ignored by most, though extended support runs till April 2017. Windows 8 though is obviously Microsoft’s biggest target for peoples’ upgrade. Microsoft hopes the end of XP will see users shift to Windows 8, instead of Windows 7, because it is now their primary focus. Windows 8 has mainstream support till 2018 and extended support till 2023.

Analysts Gartner believe that the end of Windows XP support next year will spur on increased PC sales. Considering around 37% of world PCs still run Windows XP, if all (or at least half) those users are to upgrade between now and April 2014 we should see a revival of PC sales.

“Our preliminary results indicate that this reduced market decline was attributed to solid growth in the professional market, Three of the major professional PC suppliers, HP, Dell and Lenovo, all registered better than U.S. average growth rate. The end of Windows XP support potentially drove the remaining PC refresh in the U.S. professional market.” Said Mikako Kitagawa, Gartner principal analyst.

Image courtesy of Microsoft

Analysts Say Windows 8 Not To Blame For PC Decline

PC analysts Gartner have made their latest report on the state of the PC market.  According to them PC shipments declined 10.9% in the second quarter of 2013 but they believe Windows 8 should not be blamed. Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, stated that the decline of the PC industry had started well before Windows 8 actually hit the market.

“While Windows 8 has been blamed by some as the reason for the PC market’s decline, we believe this is unfounded as it does not explain the sustained decline in PC shipments, nor does it explain Apple’s market performance” said Kitagawa.

Gartner’s figures mirror a similar trend showed by IDC just a few days ago. In the USA even Apple experienced a decline of 4.3% which was worse than HP, Dell and Lenovo – who all did quite well. Though Toshiba, ASUS and Acer have all been struggling. This would suggest that any declines in shipments and PC sales have little to do with what operating system companies sell, but how dynamic their product design is and how well their consumer-base is coping with the current economic conditions.

If you’re interested in seeing region-specific figures then be sure to check out the full report here.

Image #1 courtesy of Microsoft and Image #2 courtesy of Gartner.

Lenovo Overtakes HP As World’s Top PC Vendor

Worldwide PC shipments have taken another hit this year, down 11.4% to 75.6 million compared to the same quarter of 2012, of which 2012 was already a low point on a declining trajectory. Forecasts estimated 75.4 million but we saw 75.6 million which is slightly better than expected. Europe, the Middle East, African (EMEA) and Asia/Pacific were all apparently slightly below expectations but the USA’s PC market was slightly higher and thus made up the difference.

IDC’s report suggests that the reason for this is a PC market struggling with transition to touch based systems with Windows 8 as well as struggling to justify Ultrabook prices to stiff competition from tablets and smatphones.

“With second quarter growth so close to forecast, we are still looking for some improvement in growth during the second half of the year,” said Jay Chou, Senior Analyst, IDC Worldwide PC Tracker. “Slower growth in Europe and China reflect the risks, while the improved U.S. outlook reflects potential improvement. Still, the weakness in emerging markets is a threat to a core long-term growth area. In addition, while efforts by the PC ecosystem to bring down price points and embrace touch computing should make PCs more attractive, a lot still needs to be done in launching attractive products and addressing competition from devices like tablets.”

HP and Dell claimed growth over recent quarters with IDC stating this is due to replacing the Windows XP stock as it comes to the end of its duty cycle. Lenovo was still the biggest company in terms of shipments but a declining market in China, which accounts for 50% of their sales, saw them fall into negative growth of -1.4%.

“The U.S. market is beginning to reflect some of the Windows XP to Windows 7 transition we’ve been expecting in the commercial PC space, as evidenced by the strong growth in the enterprise-focused Dell PC business,” said Bob O’Donnell, Program Vice President, Clients and Displays. “We’re also starting to see more stabilization in shipments, which we think is a reflection of PC lifetimes finally starting to even out after a long period of gradual increase. The end result should be more PC replacements, even if consumers and companies are selective in making replacements and wait until PCs are older before replacing them.”

Image #1 courtesy of Lenovo and Image #2 courtesy of IDC

Windows Runs On 91% Of World’s Desktop Computers

Despite all the bad press Microsoft has had this year, and the bashing that Windows 8 has faced (rightly or wrongly so), Microsoft still dominates the desktop PC market and this shows absolutely no sign of slowing. According to the latest figures by Market Research firm Net Applications Microsoft still boasts 91.5% of the market share. The above figures show a relatively stable percentage for Microsoft but if we look at bit further back we can see a very slight long term decline:

  • July 2010 – 93.83%
  • July 2011 – 92.90%
  • July 2012 – 92.01%
  • June 2013 – 91.51%

Furthermore their figures reveal that Microsoft’s main rivals are Mac OS X with 7.2% and Linux with 1.28%. Windows 7 is the world’s number one operating system with 44.37% and Windows XP follows behind with 37.17%. The figures also reveal that Windows 8 now has 5.10% of market share which is rising fairly slowly but has overtaken Vista which has just 4.62%.

So the figures are certainly interesting but Microsoft shows no sign of slowing down on the PC platform. Despite all the talk of switching to different operating systems after “the disappointment” that Windows 8 was we can see very few users are actually opting for desktop alternatives (Mac OS X and Linux) and most simply move around within Windows operating system, mainly to Windows 7 or Windows XP.

Image courtesy of Net Applications

Microsoft Signs Anti-Piracy Act With HP & Samsung For Chinese Market

Piracy is a big problem for Microsoft is the Chinese market as PC vendors looking to keep costs down will often cut corners on the operating system and install pirated copies of Windows. Microsoft has signed a deal with HP and Samsung that will ensure their local partners and PC vendors install genuine Microsoft software on the PCs that they sell to the Chinese market.

China Tech News details that apparently large Chinese retailer “One Zero” has vowed to join the anti-piracy effort and will ensure to sell computers powered by only genuine Windows operating systems. Back in March Microsoft signed a similar deal with Chinese PC Vendor Lenovo and with HP and Samsung now onboard Microsoft’s anti-piracy fight has got a lot stronger for the Chinese market.

Though local Chinese vendors outside of these partnerships will probably continue to sell counterfeit Windows-based systems as there is very little incentive for them to come onboard with genuine Windows licenses, that is unless Microsoft is willing to negotiate more with the Chinese market to offer a lower price for each Windows license.

Image courtesy of techworld.com.au

IDC Says PC Monitor Market Growth Is Falling But Screen Size Is Increasing

The decline of the PC has been well documented for many years now. Tablets and smartphones are slowly eating into the PC market’s previous dominance of computing. As a result of this certain markets are slowing down that are associated with PCs and PC monitors is one of those. According to the latest report by IDC (International Data Corporation) the estimates for PC monitors shipped in Q1 of 2013 had to be reduced fro 34.7  million to 33.8 million due to reduced demand. They also said that for 2013 as a whole the total number of shipments will drop from 140.1 million to 134.4 million which is a 9.9% year on year decline from 2012. Furthermore by 2017 worldwide shipments may fall as low as 113.6 million per year.

“The continued decline in PC desktops is bringing about changes in strategy and product focus in the PC monitor market,” said Jennifer Song, Research Analyst at IDC. “With Windows 8 operating system, we expect to see more touch-based monitors although price points are a little high. Average screen size of the market is also expected to increase to 21.4″ in 2017 from 20.4″ in 2012.”

Negatives aside there are some other interesting trends happening in the PC Monitor market. Firstly LED technology is on the rise with a 15.7% year on year increase in uptake. The aspect ration 16:9 continues to dominate most displays with 75% market share while 16:10 comes in second place. TV Tuners embedded in monitors are expected to grow from nearly 5.7% to 7.6% of the market by 2017.

Furher more Samsung, Dell, HP and LG all saw declines in their monitor business with AOC being the only vendor to see positive year on year growth.

Image courtesy of ASUS