Worldwide PC shipments expected to plunge by 10 percent

Worldwide PC shipments expected to plunge by 10 percent

Summary: IDC expects worldwide PC shipments to decline even further than first thought, partly in due to a PC market decline but also a further expansion in tablet and smartphone sales.

TOPICS: PCs, Smartphones
Despite sparks still flying in the PC market, the fire is already out. (Image: CNET)

Things aren't looking so great for the PC market. 

According to latest figures by research firm IDC, worldwide PC shipments are expected to drop by 9.7 percent in 2013. The reason, according to the firm, is due to a cessation in desktops and notebooks shipping to emerging markets, compounded by an uptick in smartphone and tablet shipments.

The PC market is expected to decline through to at least 2014, although the firm believes a modest single-digit growth could be seen in early 2015.

But IDC also issued a stark warning to PC makers, who are stuck in the desktop and notebook space: The technology industry will likely never regain the peak in PC shipment volumes last seen in 2011.

There was a particular focus on emerging markets, which are no longer as interested in the traditional computer as they once were. These emerging markets, including BRIC nations — which includes China — are contracting at a faster rate than mature markets.

While China's double-digit decline in shipments compared to 2012 was noted as having a significant knock-on effect to the PC market, it's just one of a "litany of factors" that have left the market lurching.

Here's what we're seeing:

Screen Shot 2013-08-29 at 15.35.23
(Image: IDC)

Breaking these figures down, it's clear to see that the emerging markets are rejecting desktop PCs on a greater scale than mature markets, and despite a dip this year there's still a strong chance of recovery in developing nations.

So long as there's a steady stream of notebook refreshes in the next few months, as we've seen in recent years, the firm notes, PC manufacturers can expect a small rebound next year.

"The days where one can assume tablet disruptions are purely a First World problem are over," according to IDC senior research analyst Jay Chou, speaking in prepared remarks. "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."

It will also tie in with businesses taking the "first serious look" beyond Windows 7, Microsoft's three-year old operating system, which remains a popular choice in the enterprise market. But also: "We also anticipate operating system migration [Windows XP to Windows 7] will drive some volume in the commercial segment," according to IDC's Rajani Singh.

The bottom line is simple: desktop PCs are out, notebooks still have some life left in them, but it may just be enough to stave off a complete collapse of the industry by the latter part of this decade.  

Topics: PCs, Smartphones

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  • actually, this makes sense

    for the longest time, the main ways to get on the internet were desktop PC's or laptops, requiring people to either have some computer knowledge or learn a lot in a hurry (and mostly in a quick and dirty way). and a lot of people who had pc's either were geeks who really knew how to use them , or a lot of people who were clueless and only learned the rudimentary basics and not much more.
    now that more novice-friendly tablets and smart-phones are out there, those tablets would more likely be what the semi-clueless would go for and nothing more, simple, easy, and just let me do what I need to do. Desktops and laptops will be more for those who actually tap the full power that come with the higher end equipment, which may be a better thing for consumers of the higher-end equipment, but not necessarily to those companies who bundle c--pware onto the laptops/desktops as the more sophisticated users are less-likely to stand for it.
    Jim Marusak
  • Well, when everybody has a PC...

    ... PC sales will drop.

    Who would've thought?
    • In emerging markets

      Not everybody has a PC. And it's where sales are declining more.
      Wrong reason, next...
      • You dont have a clue.

        This grows more and more ludicrous by the moment.

        Emerging markets are loaded with PC's, a lot of the oldest crappiest PC's you will see.

        And they wil be even older and crappier by time they get replaced.

        Have you even stopped to wonder how or why someone in a broke emerging market would ever choose a practically useless new iPad for example over an actual working PC that might change their life or profitability of their little business and that PC might cost them about half of what a tablet does?

        None of the idea you seem to be implying makes any real world sense.

        Why are people insisting on what makes no sense at all and is pure fantacy and has no economic potential to even exist in reality?
        • So you are saying in India and China everybody has a PC?!

          My comment to your post:
          I didn't post an idea, just a fact from the article.
          You are very wrong about tablets and smartphones - they can be used for a lot more things than a traditional PC.
    • Ya, just amazing isnt it.

      This is just a laugh.

      One article says how PC sales are plunging and implies that mobile devices play some part in that, I can only assume that must be because mobile devices would be somehow replacing the sale of a PC, then on the other hand we have been having loads of articles describing in significant detail about how little to non the current rash of device/gadget availability can replace any significant use of what people are needing and have needed their PC's for in the past. People do explain mind you how an inline order taker for example may use a tablet now on the job, makes sense. But of course we can be pretty much assured that the inline order taker didnt previously have a desktop tower strapped to their back and fumbled with a monitor in one hand while they juggled a mouse and keyboard in the other in the past, so all the tablets do in those cases is replace paper.

      Many other uses on the job dont even replace paper if they are simply brand new use of a computing device altogether.

      We live in a silly world. The only possibility of a mobile device replacing a laptop or desktop sale is where someone had money to literally burn and would have simply "blown" the cash on a new PC they didnt even need, because they have an older working one already, but because they do have that working PC already they decided to blow the cash on a mobile device they dont have yet, such as a tablet they dont really need. But might want. They are the next cool thing to have right?
      • You miss it big time

        You have a particular use for your devices and believe all others giving them a different use are silly.
    • Re: Well, when everybody has a PC... ... PC sales will drop.

      "Everybody": about 6.5 billion.

      "PCs": just over a billion.

      Any questions?
  • So we have tablet sales slowing, and desktop Pc sales slowing.

    So whats causing all the slow down?
    William Farrel
    • Read the article

      “The reason, according to the firm, is due to a cessation in desktops and notebooks shipping to emerging markets, compounded by an uptick in smartphone and tablet shipments.”
      • Okay...

        What about the decline in projected tablet sales? That's not mentioned in this article.
        • Tablets or smartphones are not slowing down

          The speed of growth is just smaller - a very different thing.
          While the number of PC's will be lower this year, tablets instead of doubling will "just" be 50% higher (just an example, not sure how precise the numbers are).
          • So that is considered a slow down

            It does not matter how you present your argument, if sales of a product deviate to a number lower then previously encountered, then that is a slow down.

            In an automobile, slowing down to a stop does not mean you suddenly throw your vehicle into reverse.
            John Zern
          • You keep living in your world

            I live in mine where math is a precise science regardless of analyst revisions.
      • LOL, read this
        Ram U
  • To some degree, I agree

    I have 1 very powerful Windows 8 laptop.

    Plus 2 tablets, Chromebook, Chromebox small net-top and a Smartphone.

    So that's 1 PC, to 6 smaller alternative devices.

    And the laptop won't get replaced for several years unless it breaks. Powerful enough to go on for years.
    However if I still have any of the other devices in a few years, I'll be surprised, they'll be re-cycled long before then.
  • Not sure why this is surprising

    For decades, desktops/laptops were the go to device. Component makers were focused on making sure they could fit within the confines of the cases/form factors of these devices.

    Flash forward to 2010ish and the birth of mass-hysteria over tablets. Component makers were more focused on getting the relatively weak and expensive components up to par with their rival desktop/laptop siblings. The new Intel chips are essentially pointless for a desktop, unless you are looking at your electricity bill and/or thermals.

    If I do not see much of any speed increase in replacing my X years old device (desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone), what's the point in doing so? Outside of someone replacing an HDD system for one with at least a boot-SSD, if not only using an SSD, what has been compelling for your average consumer or business user? Nothing. At all. This is the same reason TV sales died down after the initial "OMG FLAT PANEL" and "OMG HD". There are no more compelling reasons to get device x, y, or z. I might say exceptions would be wireless charging and NFC, however, these technologies are, by in large, still hardly used in the mainstream.

    People that are suggesting it has to do with the OS, price, etc., you are missing the bigger picture. Price has something to do with it, but even those devices aren't setting anything on fire and are hardly a blip on the radar.
    • Resuming it

      No innovation for PCs.

      Mobile devices are the trend, it's where innovation is. Add to that some killer features of mobile devices and it becomes quite obvious why mobile is getting stronger while traditional PCs are on the decline.
      A well known brand of cars is making use of augmented reality - you film something in your car and you'll get info about it - just an example of the many uses of mobile devices that an "old" PC can't match - costing 100 or 1000, with 2 cores or with 100 cores.
      • what innovation?

        All these tablets are more or less all-in-one pcs with touch interface instead of keyboard/mouse in a small carry form-factor. Well they are coming integrated data card (optional), GPS (some cheaper may not have), NFC (higher end tablets), BT, WiFi, and some with digitizer and pen support. I am not seeing any innovation in the hardware because basically every thing uses either ARM instruction set or x86/x64 instruction set. Nothing innovative. Wearable computing, watches done, Glasses they are there in the form of AR glasses, nothing innovative. Now tell me where is the innovation? It is in the software. Now the Lumia 1020 Procam and SmartCam are innovative. iOS7 is coming with some. Windows 8 has few innovative features and Android has few.
        Ram U
        • You miss it a bit

          It's just starting. Mobile devices are better for a lot of things, new uses will be added.
          Navigation - try it on a pc
          Always available.
          Camera - Stills and videos.
          Augmented reality - possibilities are countless.
          Vital data monitoring.
          Internet always connected.
          Full day battery.