IDC Cuts PC Forecast, Says Users are Content to Use Older Systems

Paul Lilly

PC sales still in a slump.

Perhaps we should start posting more guides on how to squeeze every ounce of performance out of aging PCs, because if International Data Corporation (IDC) is correct in its assumption, then part of the reason for slumping computer sales is that users are "making do with older systems." They've figured out that tablets and smartphones are capable enough for checking social media, surfing the web, and firing off emails, though that doesn't mean the masses have moved on.

The way IDC sees it, PCs are still a relevant computing platform in certain situations, but for the most part, mobile devices have enough pep for day-to-day activities, hence the reluctance to upgrade components or buy new rigs.

"As the market develops, usage patterns and devices are evolving," said Loren Loverde , Program Vice President, Worldwide Quarterly PC Trackers at IDC. "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."

Because of this, IDC downgraded its PC shipment forecast. The research firm now expects worldwide PC shipments to fall by 7.8 percent in 2013 as users "increasingly consider alternatives such as delaying a PC purchase or using tablets and smartphones for more of their computing needs."

IDC says the updated forecast takes into consideration the significant drop in volume during the first quarter. We're still talking about hundreds of millions of PCs, mind you -- 321.9 million in 2013, to be exact. By 2017, that number will jump to 333.4 million, still shy of the 349.2 million shipped in 2012 but hardly indicative of a lethargic market.

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