IDC reported Monday that the PC market is expected to plunge by more than 10 percent this year, with consumer PC sales dipping by about 15 percent. That's by far the steepest PC market decline in history.
In total, the number of PCs sold is expected to decline by 10.1 precent in 2013, slightly below the previous projection of 9.7 percent. IDC expects PC unit sales of about 314.8 million, which is on pair with 2008 sales figures. IDC reported that commercial PC sales will fare slightly better, dropping about 5 percent, but that consumer PC sales will fall about 15 percent compared to the prior year. IDC also expects that worldwide PC sales will fall 3.8 percent in 2014 as well.
IDC previously predicted a drop of 9.7 percent after Windows 8.1 sales failed to materialize.
"Perhaps the chief concern for future PC demand is a lack of reasons to replace an older system," said Jay Chou, a senior research analyst, at IDC, in a statement.
"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. And despite industry efforts, PC usage has not moved significantly beyond consumption and productivity tasks to differentiate PCs from other devices. As a result, PC lifespans continue to increase, thereby limiting market growth," Chou said.
IDC defined the PC as desktops and notebooks, as well as hybrid devices that could function both in clamshell and tablet mode.
In mature markets like the United States, IDC said that the PCs--whether they be desktops or laptops--will continue to decline, barely recovering by 2017 with just 0.4 percent growth. And in emerging markets, only notebooks will show any real increases--4.8 percent in notebooks, and 2.2 percent overall--by 2017. By then, IDC predicts that the PC market will total 305.1 million units, 120.8 million of those within mature markets like the United States.
Some now consider tablets and phones to be personal computing devices, which means that the picture could be far rosier for companies with diversified hardware portfolios. But for traditional PC suppliers like Dell and Hewlett-Packard, it looks like stormy seas ahead.