IDC cuts its 2013 PC shipment predictions again; Windows 8.1 won't help this year

The research firm IDC has been changing its predictions for how many new PCs will be shipped worldwide in 2013 more than once. In March, it predicted that overall, shipments would go down by just 1.3 percent compared to 2012. In May, it revised its estimates and said PC shipments would decline by 7.8 percent this year.

Today, IDC changed its predictions yet again, and it's not good news for the PC industry, not to mention Microsoft. The firm is now saying it expects PC shipments to total 134.4 million units in 2013, a 9.7 percent decline compared to 2012. IDC says there are a number of reasons for their newest change, including the continuing rise of tablet sales. It added:

The repercussions of a slowing China, anxiety over the possible tapering of the U.S. quantitative easing program, and weak intrinsic PC demand are among a litany of factors that have rippled across portions of other formerly strong-growth areas, leading emerging markets as a whole to see declines through at least 2014.

But what about the launch of Windows 8.1 on October 18th? While IDC says that Microsoft's next OS is "expected to address a number of well-documented concerns" in Windows 8, it won't be enough to slow the decline of PC shipments in 2013. The firm is predicting that PC shipments in 2014 will decline less than this year, and will experience a small rebound in 2015. It also believes that in two years, more consumers may start buying new PCs after holding off for several years and large businesses will look at Windows 8 and 8.1 more seriously.

Source: IDC | Image via IDC

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Well of course they are down!! No one but a few technofetishists like Windows 8/8.1 . One might think that M$ is trying to sabotage the sales of PC's to the general public. We all know that IT professionals are NEVER going to switch to W8/8.1, it's just to far removed from the reliable infrastructure and ostensible ease of navigation of Windnows 95/98/XP/7.

Those of us who sit down to a computer everyday, power it on and have the standard Start Menu for searching, a fast glance at our programs in columns and easy "send to desktop create shortcut" right-clicking abhor Windows 8/8.1.

Shamefully. Third party vendors (about 10 during this post) have created makeshift Start Menus for W8/8.1 because the universal disgust with Windows 8. You don't create a new automobile in 2013 and put the steering wheel in the back seat and change the direction we all drive in our countries. LOL

Anyway. We all should expect M$ to come out with Windows 7.5 or something that gives us exactly what we need and want from all these years of using a reliable UI in Windows.

Windows PCs still outsell Macs by about 4:1 (according to Apple) so the rest of the field has quite a long way to go before we can flip the panic button here. The whole WIN8 debate is mostly irrelevant as the vast majority of people could not care less, it's just the minute minority that lurks around places like this who think the world is ending.

The reason for the decline is that many people do not need a desktop or even a laptop. A tablet will do fine for mail, facebook, music and the occasional browsing. The App launcher OS variants, like Android and iOS, suffice for his purpose.

My dad got an iPad, my in-laws got apple tablet and most likely will be upgrading it to an Android Tablet (Nexus 10) soon, my children got iPad, and only my wife got a laptop, and it was from Apple.

I sold my old Android tablet to someone who wanted to buy a tablet for his mom, in other words, many people out there are looking for tablets, and that will reduce PC sales.

I don't see how Microsoft can compete with Android? At the end of the day Nexus 7 price = Windows 8 or 8.1 pro without the hardware (well Windows maybe a bit less)

The OS war is getting very close to over, Android changed everything to Apps, even the Android Keyboard is an app and everything is upgraded all the time, everything is becoming better every few weeks, the Android OS will end up as the background with icons, and able to manage the hardware, the rest is just apps.

If Android is modified a bit to support multiple Windows and ported to PC (sooner or later, it will get to the desktop) then it is just game over for Windows right there, manufacturers will be able to install it, and everyone in the world will provide the apps, the same as what is happening in the Phone market today.

There will be PC sales, but much different from what is there today.

This is a lesson for every company that stops innovating and keeps selling the same Windows recolored with the prehistoric notepad and paint for 20 years, bye bye Windows

Our small business is now seeing an increase in sale of PC's to replace aging XP machines. We make sure that customers are aware that XP support ends next April and to plan accordingly. I anticipate another jump in sales Sping 2014 similar to the Y2K scare 400% sales jump we saw. We sell Lenovo products and custom built mini-towers for the folks that still like towers. Most are still choosing Windows 7. But. its getting near 50% that choose Windows 8. So, it appears that the public is being acclimated to the changes in Windows 8. We love it because File History lets us set up automated file backup that is vastly superior to any backup program baked into previous versions of Windows. Sales of 8.1 will take off next Spring. Customer's will like it better than XP, once used to it, and wonder what the fuss was all about.

Anti-Virus companies are already selling their products and promise to protect you for future Windows vulnerabilities, how accurate the clime is? Who knows, will wait and see.

Even if Microsoft does not want to protect Windows XP, there are tons of companies out there happy to do so at a small fraction of the price

Spicoli said,
What does Windows 8.1 have to do with it? No one buys a new PC for the OS.

The os has everything to do with it, it's the first thing a consumer sees when they walk up to a pc or laptop that's on display.

And most consumers start looking for options or the nearest exit once they see windows 8 and that abomination of a UI.

If that is happening, I think its more due to the negative word of mouth, not their own impressions of the OS. I've seen this before with previous OS releases. You can ask people what they think of a certain new OS and they will say "Well I heard...." followed by whatever issue has been spread around starting from the internet and then making its way to mainstream tech media, etc. I have had a bit of retail experience concerning 8 and its surprising how many really turn out to be fine with 8 if they take a look at it and are given proper explanations for usage.

You have to get past the initial apprehension, something many are unwilling to attempt. Many retail reps just have no interest in fighting the rumors, so they just feed into them instead.

trooper11 said,
If that is happening, I think its more due to the negative word of mouth, not their own impressions of the OS.

Obviously your retail experience is very limited if you have any at all.

People just about RUN when they see windows 8, it's been like that since we started getting our first pc's with 8 on them, at that time most consumers didn't know anything about windows 8 at all so they couldn't have been turned off by "what they heard" about it.

Obviously you don't know anything about me but decide to attack me anyway, so that's cool. That really puts your first hand 'experience' in a good light.

The reality is that your experience is merely ONE experience and is not universal, just as mine isn't. You want to argue over credentials on the INTERNET? Give me a break, you just want to shoot down my opinion.

So let me restate MY experience.

When Windows 8 first launched, people were apprehensive as they are with any new OS launch. Over the years, most consumers have learned that it can be best to wait for something like the first service pack of a new OS before buying a new pc so that the bugs get worked out, etc. Windows 7, and 8 by the way, changed that trend a bit because they were surprisingly short on launch technical bugs or driver issues and neither raised the hardware requirement needed for proper operation.

Windows 8 introduced a drastic new UI in addition to the traditional desktop. For most general consumers, if you just splash up the start screen without any context and tell them that that is windows 8, your going to get many that recoil. Its a drastic change in that presentation. However, if you show them how much is carried over from Windows 7 and how the system operates, they don't feel the need to recoil, they give it a chance.

Now shortly after Win 8 was launched, the word of mouth from all the external sources filtered down to general consumers and then came the flood of questions and concerns from perspective buyers. People would hear things like it only works with touch screens, or that Win 8 was just metro, etc, etc. Stuff that was clearly misheard or incorrect. Again, there are legitimate issues and concerns, but there were plenty that simply were not true and had to be explained (aka blanket statements).

I'm not trying to say it was perfect or that there are not issues, my only point is that Windows 8 isn't a train wreak. Its nothing like the issues we had rolling out Vista. The argument now are about a ui change, not crippling stability or driver issues.

I'm going to take your experiences as being true and assume that you obviously had a different first hand experience, I'm just communicating mine. If you don't like it, well I'm sorry.

Yes,
I blame MS and I can handle change.

The simple truth is Windows 8 is just to much shell shock for everyday, joe blow users, period! Not to mention it was just a totally dumb a** idea for MS to do what they did to the desktop and start button, etc. in Windows 8.

Vista didn't stop pc sales, people just had the new pc downgraded to XP and went on with their lives. They could do the same thing with Win8. The point is Tablets and phones are taking over. I remember 2 years ago some friends got themselves either a Galaxy phone or and ipad and their desktops became an ornament in the house. Mobility is the new fad. The reception of a new Windows version never stopped hardware sales before and it isn't now.

That would make sense if a phone or tablet was functionally comparable. I believe it's much more about a combination of poor economy and large installed base. PCs now can now last many times what they used to. I don't think I have anything newer than five years and they're still reliable and perform just fine. When the economy is slow, people tend to hold onto durable goods longer and spend more on entertainment.

Spicoli said,
That would make sense if a phone or tablet was functionally comparable. I believe it's much more about a combination of poor economy and large installed base. PCs now can now last many times what they used to. I don't think I have anything newer than five years and they're still reliable and perform just fine. When the economy is slow, people tend to hold onto durable goods longer and spend more on entertainment.

But the two don't need to be functionality comparable. Lots of people don't need everything a PC can do. Most just need web surfing, email, music, video and some light gaming o pass the time. The majority of a PCs power and ability has been wasted on the masses i'd say.

I don't agree. A rather large part of the population has kids in school and something more than a burger flipping job. They just already have a PC because they've been out for decades.

And quite aside from changes in Windows becoming an excuse NOT to upgrade, where have the hardware requirements gone? To put it bluntly, hardware requirements for the last three versions of Windows (7, 8, and 8.1) are practically identical - in other words, FLAT. Hence, folks that have perfectly working hardware need to upgrade *why*? Unless folks have reason to upgrade - hardware OR software - they won't; if anything, they will stall, and stall, and stall for as long as they can get away with it. (However, the Windows 8 bashers, while recognizing it, won't dare admit that the premise holds up - its far easier to blame Microsoft than the nature of human to resist major change.)

And that is literally the ONLY reason left. However, what's the breakage rate? If anything, it's shrunk over the last decade - basically merely since XP launched. Hardware is lasting longer. That is, in fact, part of what is driving resistance to increased hardware requirements for everything from productivity software to PC games - didn't Crysis 2, in fact, get whacked for not supporting DX10 - which was ONLY supported in the much-booed Windows Vista? Basically, the replacement cycle has slowed to a crawl - if anything, the crawl has gotten worse - including in the US - due to the poor economy. (I have had a hardware upgrade in the planning stages going back to Sandy Bridge - it got stalled due to the economic downturn; that is two desktop CPU sockets after LGA775, which is where I am today. LGA1150 has launched since - it is actually more of an advantage - in terms of both features AND price - to upgrade to Haswell; however, it's still stalled - the economy is still bad.) Windows 8.1 has nothing to do with the double-stall - I am, in fact, running the Preview today. A software upgrade does not necessarily require new hardware - however, the vast majority won't upgrade the OS without upgrading some, or all, of the underlying hardware.

I find myself agreeing with a lot of your sentiments here, in this day and age where I7 etremes and 8 core 5 gig AMD's, the drop in price for huge amounts of RAM, gaming graphics cards becoming cheaper etc...

A user doesn't need to upgrade, hell I'd put money on the latest top of the line pc home build, using the very latest flagship components wouldn't need upgrading for at least another 10-15 years, possibly longer.

(Unlike the xp era)

CygnusOrion said,
134 million PCs is still a huge number.

the article is wrong. it says pcs shipments for 2013 are expected to be 134 million. except this is only for desktop pcs. laptops/mobiles are at 181 million. total pcs in 2013 are expected to be 315 million.

Continuing rise in tablet sales, and people say MS should drop metro. There's no way the new UI is going anywhere, and desktop PCs were on the way down back before Windows 7 shipped. Just looking at the chart there's no surprise that the majority is portable PCs, before tablets started to take off laptops were already eating into and replacing the "traditional" desktop PC market. Tablets are now growing and taking away from desktops and even laptops so to ignore mobile in anyway would be crazy.

Spicoli said,
A game/streaming device and a general purpose computer are not comparable products.

Uh, where did I ever bring up a game/streaming device? I talked about people who think MS should drop metro etc when the evidence has been point to computing going more and more mobile and "traditional" desktop PCs becoming more of the minority. I don't know where you got the game/streaming device idea from.

No one has been asking for the merging of a desktop & tablet interface.
If the "traditional" desktop Pc market is declining inevitably as you imply , then it's a wrong idea to use it to promote "tablets". Also It's not because that pc sell less, that you can deduce that people use them less: maybe people are just not interested to upgrade.

bigmehdi said,
No one has been asking for the merging of a desktop & tablet interface.
If the "traditional" desktop Pc market is declining inevitably as you imply , then it's a wrong idea to use it to promote "tablets". Also It's not because that pc sell less, that you can deduce that people use them less: maybe people are just not interested to upgrade.

Debating weather or not the merging of UIs is/was needed is different. There are two things going on here and the market is reflecting that. First, people aren't upgrading like they used to. A PC that's 5 years old can run everything but the very newest games just fine. That means that at least for a time being you'll have a steady downward trend until you see a upgrade bump. The second thing is tablets. No one can deny the fact that the tablet market is still growing and that for many it has replaced a possible PC purchase, be that a desktop or a laptop.

There is also a key difference between a tablet device purchase and a desktop pc. People, most, don't think of the two as the same, price does play a part in it of it. People who just got that new desktop aren't looking to buy a new one next year or even 2 years later but the guy who just got a $199 tablet? Odds of him opting for a new and better one a year later are higher.

UI aside MS can not ignore mobile, unlike the other two tablet players though MS had to use it's PC market to work back into tablets while Apple and Google used their strong smartphone markets to work into tablets. Regardless with computing moving to more mobile devices overall the desktop UI would become more and more niche as time goes on. I'm not saying metro is best, it has it's issues of course but I see a good step up with 8.1 and have no doubt that the desktop and metro will merge more in the future to where regardless of computing device the UI just works.

GP007 said,

Uh, where did I ever bring up a game/streaming device? I talked about people who think MS should drop metro etc when the evidence has been point to computing going more and more mobile and "traditional" desktop PCs becoming more of the minority. I don't know where you got the game/streaming device idea from.

Because the "mobile" devices are gaming and media streaming devices.

Spicoli said,

Because the "mobile" devices are gaming and media streaming devices.

Only if you view them that way, sure they can play games and media from Netflix or hulu or whatever other app you may have installed but you can still do all the other basics in computing that the majority of people do. Check email, surf the web, chat with people and so on. Most people never used much of their desktop PCs outside of that so for those a smartphone or a tablet is enough.

GP007 said,
Continuing rise in tablet sales, and people say MS should drop metro.

???

Did anyone say that Metro is unsuitable for tablets? That's not what that debate has been about. If anything, people think the touch-finicky deskop UI has no place on tablets, and that tablets should be 100% Metro.

And that desktops shouldn't have Metro.

Northgrove said,

???

Did anyone say that Metro is unsuitable for tablets? That's not what that debate has been about. If anything, people think the touch-finicky deskop UI has no place on tablets, and that tablets should be 100% Metro.

And that desktops shouldn't have Metro.

If tablet sales and tablets, mobile devices, take over computing to the extent that I think they are then MS did right to try and get people used to the new way of doing things and the new UI. There's also the benefit of giving developers of windows store apps an instant market to tap into and not starting from zero. Maybe sometime down the line they could infact split them off again, and give, what I expect will be a quite small, traditional desktop PC market a non-metro Windows. Then again they could just as well merge the two UIs more and more to where we end up with a new, more dynamic UI that works well on both device types.

I think it's just silly to expect desktops user to disappear, and this is what irritate me the most. Microsoft seems to say : let's push ahead that metro interface, until the regular desktop is no more needed. No one is enough blind to see that there are economical interest behind this way of thinking, but hopefully this won't work.
And if they truly want to merge desktop & tactile interface, they should have done a better seamless job, or wait that things are ready, before joining two.

Edited by bigmehdi, Sep 1 2013, 5:39pm :