Decline in PC and tablet shipments will continue through 2023

Decline in PC and tablet shipments will continue through 2023

Pessimistic outlook is due to inflation, the weakening global economy, and a surge in buying over the past two years.

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Global shipments of PCs and tablets are in steep decline, but will pick up again in 2024, according to a new study by IDC.

Shipments of traditional PCs are forecast to decline 12.8 per cent to 305.3 million units in 2022, while IDC expects tablet shipments will fall 6.8 per cent to 156.8 million. The combined market for PCs and tablets will decline by 2.6 per cent in 2023 before returning to growth in 2024, according to IDC.

It attributes the reduced outlook to inflation, the weakening global economy, and the surge in buying over the past two years. Consumer demand has slowed, education demand has largely been fulfilled, and enterprise demand is getting pushed out due to worsening macroeconomic conditions, IDC said.

The new forecast was a part of IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker, which gathers historical and forecast trend analysis data from over 90 countries. It distinguishes between traditional PCs (including desktops, notebooks, and workstations) and tablets (including detachable tablets and slate tablets). Shipments are to distribution channels or end users.

With economic headwinds gaining speed, consumer sentiments will worsen, resulting in contractions in the consumer market for the next six quarters, Linn Huang, research vice president for devices displays at IDC said in a press note.

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

Growth to return post-2023

IDC expects a growth in shipments post-2023, and that by 2026 total shipments will be around 477.7 million, including 269.3 million to consumers, 63.6 million to the enterprise sector, 75.9 million to the SMB sector, and 69 million to the public sector.

Though demand is slowing, the outlook for the shipments remains above pre-pandemic levels, Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC mobility and consumer device trackers, said in a note.

“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. Educational deployments and hybrid work are also expected to become a mainstay driving additional volumes,” said Ubrani.

Demand continues to be weak since Q2, 2020

The worldwide shipments declined 15.3 per cent year over year to 71.3 million units in the second quarter of 2022, according to data released by IDC in July. 

It was the second consecutive quarter of lower shipments following two years of growth. IDC noted that the decline was worse than expected as supply and logistics further deteriorated due to the lockdowns in China and persistent macroeconomic headwinds.

While Lenovo, HP Inc., and Dell Technologies retained their top three positions, Apple slipped into the fifth position, tying with ASUS. The researchers attributed the downfall to a dip in production during the quarter. As a result, Acer moved up to 4th place during the quarter. Barring any further supply issues, IDC expects Apple to ramp up its production in the second half of the year.

Quarterly PC volume at the beginning of the pandemic peaked at 74.3 million in the second quarter of 2020. Pre-pandemic volumes in the second quarter of 2018 and 2019 were 62.1 million and 65.1 million units respectively.

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