With iPads firmly at the top of this year's Black Friday most-wanted lists, PC manufacturers can only look on as the traditional segment continues to contract. PC shipments have been falling for several consecutive quarters and the declines don't show any signs of slowing.
Market research firm IDC today predicted that worldwide PC shipments for the year 2013 will decline over 10% from shipments seen in 2012. This is a larger contraction than was predicted even early this year, when PC manufacturers had just endured a dismal holiday 2012 quarter. Shipments for 2014 are expected to contract as well, down another 3.8%. IDC expects the PC market to level off at around 300 million shipments worldwide in the long term.
"Perhaps the chief concern for future PC demand is a lack of reasons to replace an older system," said Jay Chou, senior research analyst at IDC. "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."
The consumer market in particular is declining, with consumers flocking to tablet devices for their media and internet consumption needs. IDC predicts a 15% drop in consumer PC shipments for 2013.
PC shipments to enterprise customers are also declining, but not by nearly as much. IDC sees a 5% decline in enterprise PC shipments for the year 2013. The enterprise market may be buoyed slightly in the coming months by a limited need for some businesses to upgrade their PC infrastructures to newer operating systems from Windows XP, which Microsoft is ending support for in 2014.