The way people talk about the PC market these days, you’d think it was in free-fall. That’s not to say it will ever recover its former glory — it won’t — but it seems as though the great PC decline is getting softer in its old age, according to a new report from the IDC (News - Alert) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker.
First things first: Worldwide PC shipments did in fact fall again last year by almost 10 percent. Although this is actually better than the projected decline of 10.1 percent, it still represents the most severe contraction for PCs ever. Although fourth quarter results were better than expected, the outlook for emerging markets has dropped as competition from alternative devices, like tablets, has gotten fiercer.
As such, growth projections for 2014 have been lowered by about two percent. And yet, by 2018, total PC shipments are expected to rebound slightly in emerging markets.
To put it into numbers, desktop PC shipments are going to drop from 85.6 million shipments in 2013 to 77.2 million in 2018. However, laptop shipments, which are expected to drop from 96.2 million shipments last year to 87.2 million shipments in 2014, should climb once again to 94.5 million shipments in 2018. Overall, emerging market PC shipments should recover from 167.7 million in 2014 to 171.7 million in 2018.
That said, mature markets should see a pretty straightforward decline, from 133.3 million total shipments in 2013 to 120 million in 2018. As a result, worldwide PC shipments should still be hovering just below 300 million units in 2018, which is still a decline but a milder one than was previously expected."Emerging markets used to be a core driver of the PC market, as rising penetration among large populations boosted overall growth," said Loren Loverde, VP of Worldwide PC Trackers at IDC, in a statement. "At the moment, however, we're seeing emerging regions more affected by a weak economic environment as well as significant shifts in technology buying priorities. We do expect these regions to recover in the medium term and perform better than mature regions, but growth is expected to stabilize near zero percent, rather than driving increasing volumes as we saw in the past."