PC market to suffer "by far the most severe" fall on record this year | PCGamesN

PC market to suffer "by far the most severe" fall on record this year

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We’re not normally given to quoting AA Milne via Piglet, but oh d-d-dear dear. Despite positive noises to the contrary during the Autumn, research firm International Data Corporation have now told us to expect the “most severe yearly contraction on record” for the PC market.

Overall sales of PCs will fall by 10.1% this year, say IDC - worse than their first estimate of 9.7%.

PC shipments took a terrible tumble in the first part of this year. In April, IDC reported that the number of PCs delivered to retailers worldwide had fallen by 13.9% in the first three months of 2013, rather than the 7.7% originally predicted.

By October, things were looking a little less bleak - sales for the previous three months had improved on IDC’s forecasts, and showed that the PC market had shrunk by the relatively small margin of 7.6% during that time. That was thanks in part to recovery in the US market, and increased uptake of Windows 8.1 machines.

Today, though, things look bleaker than ever. At current rates, total PC shipments will emerge just ahead of 2008’s numbers. And the picture is worse for consumer PCs - i.e. ours, used to play games - than for business desktops. Even in ‘emerging’ markets, where sales are ordinarily on the rise, shipments are projected to decline throughout 2014.

“Perhaps the chief concern for future PC demand is a lack of reasons to replace an older system,” said senior research analyst Jay Chou. “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.” 

There are garish LEDs at the end of the tunnel - but shipments are expected to decline further, by about 3.8% in 2014, before things truly start to get better.

And where will the new sales eventually come from? IDC are looking to Windows tablets to boost the PC’s numbers - namely ‘2-in-1’ machines, designed to work as both slate and ‘clamshell’ devices.

As our Tim pointed out in April, it’s games that can drive new PC purchases - they’re the reason to upgrade. So I suppose, at the very least, we’re doing our bit for the industry.

But wider frustration about PC manufacturers’ affair with touch-based desktops and other assorted weirdery is visible in Valve’s Steam Machines. It’s telling when a game developer is forced to build the hardware to support growth in PC gaming themselves, don’t you think?

Thanks, BBC News.

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Sax avatarBalverine avatarunwanted avatarGwathdring avatar
Balverine Avatar
4 Years ago

More and more people are building their own computers for gaming (which is what you SHOULD be doing), and less and less need to upgrade hardware every year and is there 0 reason too. Though the people who buy the best of the best every year for that 0.01% increase in stats are silly, it is not surprising PC sales going down.

Not like its the end of the market though so why worry anyways.

unwanted Avatar
4 Years ago

This reminds me of the Nintendo Wii. Late in the last generation sites were reporting that Xbox 360 and PS3 units were outselling the Wii. Well of course they were because everyone that wanted a Wii had one already.

I think it's the same here. PC sales will fall because everyone has a PC already. Since it's not something you need to upgrade every year, there will be times where there are slow sales.

Sax Avatar
4 Years ago

PC sales are falling since forever, no?

I'd say that the PC sales numbers are only marginally connected to the number of PC gamers if at all.

Gwathdring Avatar
4 Years ago

I'm not really worried. PCs are still the primary computing device as they should be because they're really good at that. Some consumers who only really needed their PC for things the tablet does equally well or better are jumping ship for those, and this is all well and good--so there's part of the decline answered and then of course there's the matter that upgrading isn't as constant a thing on the PC especially since the consoles are falling behind the curve as is general software development ... no-one NEEDS the best stuff out there except specialists and people who future-proof and upgrade once every 5-10 years. Those last sort aren't so good for the quarterly portfolio even if they are nonetheless reliable customers. But yes, anyway, nothing requires 16 GB of RAM, and the hottest GPU and CPU on the shelf; not in the consumer space. Even the relatively common 4 and 8 GB of ram will keep pretty much everyone covered.

Beyond that, Apple isn't doing so shabby as it has in the past. I don't know the stats, but my impression is that Macs have more and more institutional support--I don't know about consumers. So it's possible some of the "PC" decline is really just "Windows PC" decline relative to alternatives. Of course, fewer Mac users rely on their Mac for the latest and greatest games but PCs aren't just for gaming either so it's still relevant.