A revised forecast from IDC suggests that global PC sales will fall 7.8 percent in 2013 as users increasingly opt for tablets rather than laptops or desktop PCs.
The new scenario is bleaker than IDC's previous predictions:
In place of a limited decline of -1.3% in 2013 followed by a gradual increase in volume, the new outlook calls for a more substantial decline of -7.8% in 2013 and -1.2% in 2014 with shipment volume reaching only 333 million in 2017 – still below the 349 million shipped in 2012 and a peak of more than 363 million shipped in 2011.
The updated forecast takes into account the significant drop in PC shipments during Q1 2013 that we reported on in April
and also takes into account the transition in PC design due to Windows 8 which has led to an increase in sales of touch-enabled devices. IDC now expects the shipments of tablets to exceed those of desktop and laptop PCs combined in 2015:
According to Loren Loverde, Program Vice President, Worldwide Quarterly PC Trackers at IDC:
"As the market develops, usage patterns and devices are evolving, Many users are realizing that everyday computing, such as accessing the Web, connecting to social media, sending emails, as well as using a variety of apps, doesn't require a lot of computing power or local storage. Instead, they are putting a premium on access from a variety of smaller devices with longer battery life, an instant-on function, and intuitive touch-centric interfaces. These users have not necessarily given up on PCs as a platform for computing when a more robust environment is needed, but this takes a smaller share of computing time, and users are making do with older systems."
With the end of support for XP, IDC expects to see some replacements happen in 2014, particularly in the commercial segment - even so the Year-On-Year Growth figures for PCs seem grim:
Whether this is good news or bad news for Microsoft is difficult to say as IDC counts the Surface RT as a tablet, along with other LCD-based slate devices with screens between 7 and 16 inches with or without removable keyboards.