PC sales to plummet over next five years

According to IDC’s latest projection for PC sales between 2016 and 2021, shipments will drop from 435.1 million units to 398.3 million in 2021 – a compound annual decline of 1.7%.

Loren Loverde, Programme Vice President of IDC’s Worldwide Personal Computing Device Tracker, said: “Shipments could pick up if accelerators like economic conditions, adoption of gaming, VR, and Windows 10 speed up.”

He added, however, that even in the best-case scenario growth would continue to be “limited”.

Forecasts show that the only styles of PC that will enjoy more than 1% growth over the next five years are tablets with detachable keyboards such as Surface Pro or iPad Pro, which can be used as standalone tablets or as personal computers. However, sales projections had to be downgraded because production is slower than anticipated.

The firm released a table yesterday displaying details of the dark times that await PC retailers.

The sources do not paint a positive picture, especially when you take into consideration the fact that millions of new buyers are arriving online in developing countries such as India and China. IDC said that less than two million PCs were purchased in India during Q2, the figure likely affected by the government introducing a new tax. The country’s PC sales in a typical quarter are around 2.1 million.

IDC does see some light at the end of the tunnel. It expects commercial PC sales to begin recovering after 2019, with the emergence of ultra-thin laptops boosting computer sales.

With increasing numbers of SMB enterprises switching to cloud-based business solutions such as Microsoft Dynamics 365, however, the long-term prospects for standalone PCs continue to look ominous.