IDC: The peak of PC shipments was reached two years ago

Earlier this month, IDC and Gartner said that PC shipments by about 11 percent in the second quarter of 2013, continuing a string of declines in shipments of PC hardware. Now IDC says that largest number PC shipments worldwide actually happened two years ago.

Computerworld.com reports that in the third quarter of 2011, IDC said that 96.1 million PCs shipped worldwide. Since then, those quarterly and yearly numbers have dropped and, according to Bob O'Donnell, an analyst at IDC, "It's very possible that that was the peak."

We could see less desktop PCs made like Lenovo's recent high end Erazer in the next few years.

So what does that mean? Analysts are still debating whether or not the shipments will bottom out and then go higher or if they will continue to keep dropping for years to come. Another IDC analysts, Al Gillen, thinks the PC business will make some sort of recovery, saying, "We're not predicting a continual contraction, the PC business has not gone into a free fall where years out it vanishes." Gartner has a similar opinion.

However, Sameer Singh, an analyst on the Tech-Thoughts blog, says that IDC and Gartner have both been predicting a PC recovery for a while and it has yet to materialize. He says, "I don't expect that to happen as the reason for this decline is an irreversible, secular shift in computing patterns." Singh thinks that many people will not buy PCs in favor of smartphones and tablets. He thinks that shipments of PCs will eventually go down to as low as 65 million units per quarter.

This may be one of the reasons why Microsoft decided to consolidate all of its operating system teams under one division, run by former Windows Phone chief Terry Myerson. Gillen states, " ... by putting the operating system businesses together, Microsoft can essentially offset the decline of the PC client with gains coming from mobile."

Source: Computerworld.com | Image via Lenovo

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15 Comments

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Processors have reached a point where even cheap ones offer great performance for the average user. Even budget systems come with plenty of hard drive space and memory too. In addition to the mobile computing trend, i think we're at a point where computer upgrade cycles have greatly extended. Without some major leaps and bounds people don't really have a reason to buy a new computer.

I think their number represents people buying pre-built systems so that cuts out a huge segment of the PC market, the enthusiast who builds their own systems. If they found a way to include that segment I think the number would be much higher.

"Earlier this month, IDC and Gartner said that PC shipments by about 11 percent in the second quarter of 2013..."

...Earlier this month what? that they are down I assume?

Yes, you're right. I've just upgraded but there was really no need lol... I just like new stuff. There's less reason every time I do so now.

Saying that, I did upgrade to a Surface Pro which is my first ever portable computer. And as someone else said, just chuck an external monitor on it and what's the difference right? It's win-win really... unless you're into gaming.

(replied to the wrong person, this should be below what Manarift said)

Yearly or biannual hardware updates just doesn't give the normal user that ummph that it once did. I still see many people doing just fine with Windows XP hardware. Also, many just don't want to learn Windows 8. Buying a new computer means dealing with Windows 8.

Its more so hardware is lasting longer and because of how economy is right now people dont feel the need to upgrade so often.

Bizarrely, I've had a few friends come to me recently saying they want to get a desktop machine, and just to “do emails, surf the net, and light work like that” etc, and asking for advice. Of course I told them, do it on a laptop, but buy a monitor for when you need the big screen space, but they're all set on desktops.
I know anecdotes don't equal evidence btw, just saying it's a bit odd I'm getting these requests now..

Is this a real surprise? Most home users just used their desktops to check their email and surf the internet. It's much more comfortable to do that on your sofa with your tablet.

Well there's nothing really pushing the desktop pc market anymore everything is already smoothed out os wise that allot aren't innovating in that area to light the fire under the booty of the bigger companies.

warwagon said,
Then came windows 8... LOL!!! just kidding!!! Sorta..
Its ok if you weren't kidding. Millions would agree with you.