Market research firm predicts 10 percent market shrinkage
If industry analysts don't start saying nice things about PCs, we may start to develop a complex. We jest, of course -- this is Maximum PC, not Maximum Feelings -- and we're confident that PCs will be around for a long, long time, but what's unknown is when mainstream users will see the need to upgrade again. According to International Data Corporation (IDC), PC shipments continue to decline because consumers are getting by just fine with their older machines.
"Perhaps the chief concern for future PC demand is a lack of reasons to replace an older system," said Jay Chou, Senior Research Analyst, Worldwide Quarterly PC Trackers 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."
It's an interesting analysis that deviates from the typical, "OMG, PCs are dead, everyone wants a tablet or smartphone!!" Mobile handheld devices are hot, no doubt, but when it come down to it, traditional PCs are the real workhorses that are still used the most, according to IDC's data.
At the same time, IDC predicts the market will contract 10.1 percent by the end of the year, representing the most severe decline ever. In 2014, IDC sees the market dipping another 3.8 percent before turning slightly positive in the longer term. When the dust settles, PC shipments will hover a little over 300 million units, just ahead of 2008 volumes.