IDC cuts its 2013 PC shipment forecast; sees decline of 7.8 percent

In March, the research firm IDC announced it expected worldwide PC shipments to go down by 1.3 percent in 2013, and put part of the blame on PC makers for not having enough Windows 8-based touchscreen products to go around. Today, IDC revised its 2013 PC shipment forecast again, and its new prediction shows an even bigger shipment decline.

IDC's press release claims that worldwide PC shipments will total 321.9 million units, a 7.8 percent reduction compared to 2012's 349 million units and well below the 2011 peak of 363 million. IDC states that the decline is due to a number of factors, including companies delaying large PC purchases and employees using more tablets and smartphones.

Speaking of tablets, a separate IDC press release today stated that the research firm predicts shipments of tablets will surpass those of portable PCs in 2013 for a worldwide total of 229.3 million units, up from 144.5 million units in 2012. IDC claims that in 2015, the total number of tablets shipped will surpass that of the entire PC market. Ryan Reith, the Program Manager for IDC's Mobility Trackers, is quoted as saying:

IDC continues to believe that PCs will have an important role in this new era of computing, especially among business users. But for many consumers, a tablet is a simple and elegant solution for core use cases that were previously addressed by the PC.

Source: IDC | Image via IDC

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18 Comments

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Tablet sales will level off as the market saturates the same as PCs. Comparing two rather different products, one that's new and one that's been around decades, doesn't make much sense anyway. People have a PC only need to buy one when it breaks. They don't have a tablet.

Still thinking that Windows 8 (or even ModernUI) is all about touch, Spicoli? Tell my desktop PC that - it doesn't have touch - in fact, the majority of the hardware dates back to Vista. I actually do use some ModernUI apps (that did NOT come with Windows 8 - in other words, I actually have ADDED them) - why would I do that if ModernUI were touch-only or even touch-first, especially on a desktop? Your bias is showing rather obviously, sir.

Ryan Reith's quote mirrors my thoughts exactly. The traditional mouse and keyboard PC isn't going away for the tasks it excels at, mainly productivity and hardcore gaming; for casual information consumption it's been replaced by much more simple and practical devices. (This is why Microsoft should let PC users work entirely in Desktop land if they want to and not bother them with any of its "immersive" i.e. "for tablets" new UI tech.)

This is a great thing! Grandma shouldn't have to understand the difference between a monitor and a computer, what an operating system, a process, a window and a web browser are, to see her facebook and check her email. Every time I've had to do tech support for clueless users I've thought PCs were terrible tools for them to use, and it's a great thing these users are switching to something more fit to their needs.

Except the kids also won't know what the PC truly is untill they need one. Generations that will grow up with tablets and smarthones as their main devices instead of PCs will be noticably inferior intellectually to the current ones. The great flood of programmer and computer talent that we enjoy now will dwiddle considerably.

Asik - nobody is saying what you are accusing Microsoft of saying. What YOU are saying is basically *don't offer the users of desktops a choice*. (Yes - I said DESKTOPS - not portables, convertibles, etc.) Why is it that desktop users should NOT be allowed to choose between ModernUI and Win32 - using whichever works for them? Yes; ModernUI supports touch better than Win32 - however, which is the newer API? Touch is *old* - however, until recently (even for desktops and AIOs, where it remains the most expensive due to scaling up to larger displays) it was TOO expensive except for super-small (or niche) uses - like smartphones, kiosks, ATMs etc. Also, ModernUI works great even where touch support doesn't exist - IF the app developer has a clue and gets that not all those that can USE the app necessarily have touch support. You think, apparently, like most ModernUI *developers* think - nobody is going to run a ModernUI app on a desktop. Horsepuckey, I say - I wouldn't (in fact, couldn't) use MetroTwit, my primary ModernUI app, if it were touch-only. MetroTwit has, in fact, remained my default Twitter app - despite the presence of an official ModernUI Twitter app, for the rather simple reason that the folks at Twitter didn't grasp what MetroTwit's developers did - not all ModernUI users have touch support. Spicoli, you CAN become a grandmother younger than fifty, so you may mean GREAT-grandparents - I'm OF the generation that gave birth to the PC (it arrived in the workplace when I did), and practically all of us that are married are grandparents (and some are already great-grandparents), and I'm only fifty-one.

@AdrianWerner Actually we're quite starved for programmers already, and I don't think it has much to do with the platforms people use to watch Youtube. The fact that PCs force users to jump through a few hoops to consume media never taught them much about programming, at least from what I can see. What we really need is an introduction to programming as a mandatory part of the high school curriculum.

PGHammer said,
Asik - nobody is saying what you are accusing Microsoft of saying. What YOU are saying is basically *don't offer the users of desktops a choice*. (Yes - I said DESKTOPS - not portables, convertibles, etc.) Why is it that desktop users should NOT be allowed to choose between ModernUI and Win32 - using whichever works for them?
... no, that's exactly the opposite of what I said. I don't know what to add other than to restate my point. Desktop users should be able to work entirely on the Desktop if they wish to. That wouldn't prevent you or anyone else from using the Modern apps they want.

Asik - that is exactly the case with Windows 8 today. Nothing prevents desktop (Win32) applications from being used - most of my applications are, in fact, Win32. I do, in fact, run Windows 8 on a desktop - were you making the assumption that I was running WindowsRT, or that my hardware supported touch? In fact, I started a thread on ModernUI - and specifically why it can be relevant even without touch. ("ModernUI Without Touch: Why It Is Relevant" in Windows Users and Support)

Adrian Werner said,
Except the kids also won't know what the PC truly is untill they need one. Generations that will grow up with tablets and smarthones as their main devices instead of PCs will be noticably inferior intellectually to the current ones. The great flood of programmer and computer talent that we enjoy now will dwiddle considerably.

To each their own. You still have to develop for these devices either way.

It's the same story with my generation. I grew up with Windows 95. The true birth of the PC. A time where people bitched and moaned over the uptick in the GUI and the death of the CLI. Now we're witnessing a new era with a new generation of users behind it.

PGHammer said,
Asik - that is exactly the case with Windows 8 today. Nothing prevents desktop (Win32) applications from being used - most of my applications are, in fact, Win32.
I never questioned that Win32 applications could be used in Windows 8. You keep mentioning my name but you're not picking up on things I actually wrote.

Asik, when you start using words like *exclusively* - how else can I interpret that but to mean dismissing ModernUI? Nobody - least of all Microsoft - is asking anyone to use, or even try, ModernUI apps, games, etc. - Other than the OS-included components in ModernUI, you can completely ignore it. However, if you do, you are very much cutting off your nose to spite your face - which is exactly the point of my thread about ModernUI. Unlike almost every other thread about ModernUI, mine is aimed specifically at users with no touch support on their hardware at all - primarily desktop users such as myself.

MDboyz said,
I'm still using two of my desktops running i7 2600k, and I still don't see any reason to upgrade.

You make it sound like that was some ancient processor...

I'm still using a core2duo laptop that runs windows 8 perfectly. The only time it shows it's age is in games. But if you don't game there's no reason to upgrade.