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2024 might be the year for PCs, 2023 certainly wasn’t

2023 was a terrible year for PC sales, according to the latest sales data, but analysts believe we're past the worst of it and 2024 could rise.

2023 PC sales drop 2024 sales up

There’s no two ways about it, 2023 was a bit of a disaster when it comes to raw PC sales numbers. According to the latest data from IDC and Gartner, overall PC sales were down nearly 15% compared to 2022 and the lowest since 2006. Indeed, the 14.8% drop (to be exact) is the largest ever recorded for the industry.

However, analysts believe the drop in PC sales – and we’re talking all PCs here, from gaming laptops and gaming PCs to basic home PCs, workstations, and even Apple laptops and desktops – has likely reached its peak with 2024 set to be a year of growth once again.

The analysis by IDC and Gartner uses slightly different data with slightly different estimates. IDC puts the total PC sales for 2022 and 2023 at 302M and 260M while Gartner puts these figures at 242M and 284M, respectively. Nonetheless, the overall percentage drop still sits at around the same 14+% figure for both companies, making for grim reading.

However, there are two reasons to be positive about these figures. The first is that while these numbers are alarming in terms of relative sales, the total sales are still huge. Any talk of the bottom dropping out of the market or of the PC being dead are clearly not in line with those overall sales numbers.

Moreover, Gartner and IDC predict 2024 will see a rise again in sales, with results from last year’s holiday period sales already showing this trend, with them slightly above those of 2022.

As for why the market situation is the way it is, the biggest factor here is the impact of COVID-19. The massive influx of home workers created a surge in PC sales that, as we all know, had a largely detrimental effect on the price and availability of many PC parts. Ever since that 2020/2021 peak, the market has been in decline with 2023 seeing the worst of that affect.

Also a factor, at least for PC gaming buyers, was the low availability of competitively-priced hardware at the start of 2023. AMD’s AM5 CPUs were largely still an expensive option, DDR5 was expensive, and the large number of more affordable graphics cards we now have – from the RTX 4070 to the RX 7600 – weren’t yet available.

Furthermore, there has been little need for new hardware in the face of no must-have software or related hardware. Many users upgrading during the COVID time might’ve been upgrading an ancient home PC or buying their first just to get work done. Meanwhile, others might’ve been stepping up their system to cope with VR or for playing the latest AAA games while they were stuck indoors. Since then, though, there have been no major reasons to upgrade any further. Perhaps the era of AI PCs that was much talked about at CES 2024 will encourage some users to upgrade again, but we’re yet to really see how that will play out.

Regardless of the exact reasons, we’re optimistic about the gaming PC space for 2024. We’ve got a round of upgraded RTX 4000 Super graphics cards just around the corner, along with the RX 7600 XT, along with many other exciting hardware arrivals, such as the mass of new OLED gaming monitors and new gaming laptops seen at CES, new Intel Arrow Lake CPUs later in the year, and more. Not to mention the slew of new upcoming PC games in 2024, such as GTA 6 and Tekken 8.