Framingham, Mass. − Worldwide PC shipments is forecast to fall by -10.1% in 2013, slightly below the previous projection of -9.7%, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. This is the most severe yearly contraction on record, according to the report. IDC predicts that total shipments will fall by an additional -3.8% in 2014 before turning slightly positive in the longer term.
The report also reveals that PC shipments will remain just above 300 million during the forecast – slightly ahead of 2008 volumes. Shipments are even projected to fall in 2014 for emerging markets, a primary growth driver for the PC market, and recover by only a few percent during the forecast period.
"Perhaps the chief concern for future PC demand is a lack of reasons to replace an older system," said Jay Chou, senior research analyst, Worldwide Quarterly PC Trackers at IDC, in a statement. "While IDC research finds that the PC still remains the primary computing device – for example, PCs are used more hours per day than tablets or phones – PC usage is nonetheless declining each year as more devices become available. And despite industry efforts, PC usage has not moved significantly beyond consumption and productivity tasks to differentiate PCs from other devices. As a result, PC lifespans continue to increase, thereby limiting market growth."
While the commercial market is doing slightly better than the consumer market in 2013 with shipments declining by -5% year over year compared to nearly -15% for consumer, the outlook remains the same for both with a small drop in both segments in 2014 followed by nearly flat growth in the longer term. IDC attributes the current relative stability in the commercial market to "more stable PC investment planning, a smaller impact from tablets, and replacements of Windows XP systems before the end of support planned for 2014."
"The emergence of 2-in-1 devices designed to function in both clamshell and slate configurations – many of which will run Windows – along with Windows-based tablets themselves, is expected to provide some new volume for the Windows platform as well as the PC vendors and other parts of the traditional PC ecosystem in coming years," said Loren Loverde, vice president, Worldwide Quarterly PC Trackers, in a statement.
"The Windows-based tablet market (covered in IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker) is expected to grow to 39.3 million units in 2017 from less than 7.5 million in 2013 and less than 1 million in 2011," Loverde added. "However, relative to a PC market size of roughly 300 million units, these Windows tablets would add just a couple percent a year relative to PC growth. Even so, these Windows devices are projected to account for 10% of a combined PC & Windows Tablet market by 2016 – making them an important growth segment for the PC ecosystem," he added.