The PC is struggling again - but the end of Windows 10 will give it a boost

Global shipments of traditional PCs will fall 12.8%, while tablets will drop 6.8%, according to an IDC forecast.
Written by Sabrina Ortiz, Editor
Close-up of student scrolling on tablet
Image: Klaus Vedfelt via Getty Images

In 2022, global PC shipments are expected to drop 12.8% to 305.3 million units, while tablets are expected to drop 6.8% to 156.8 million units, according to a forecast by tech researcher IDC.

The worldwide economic conditions combined with decreased consumer demand will cause contraction as the surge in buying over the past two years subsides.

SEE: Decline in PC shipments suggests consumers are tightening their belts

Further contraction is also expected in 2023 as consumer demand slows, education demand is largely fulfilled, and enterprise demand gets pushed out due to worsening macro-economic conditions.

"With economic headwinds gaining speed, we expect worsening consumer sentiment to result in further consumer market contractions over the next six quarters," said Linn Huang, research vice president for devices and displays at IDC. 

The combined market for PCs and tablets is expected to decline 2.6% in 2023, before returning to growth in 2024, according to the report. 

Source: IDC

Despite the drop in demand, the overall outlook for shipments remains above pre-pandemic levels. The long-term outlook also looks positive, as PCs and tablets can expect stable demand.

"Long-term demand will be driven by a slow economic recovery combined with an enterprise hardware refresh as support for Windows 10 nears its end," said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers. "Educational deployments and hybrid work are also expected to become a mainstay driving additional volumes." Windows 10 goes out of support in October 2025, so businesses still have plenty of time to get their plans in place

"Economic recovery in time for the next major refresh cycle could propel some growth in the outer years of our forecast. Though volumes won't hit pandemic peaks, we expect the consumer market to drive towards more premium ends of the market," said Huang.

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