Glum Forecast for PC & Tablet Shipments

Article By : Dylan McGrath

Combined shipments of PCs and tablets are projected to continue falling through 2023

SAN FRANCISCO — Combined shipments of PCs and tablets are projected to continue falling through 2023, perpetuating a steady decline amid a changing personal computing landscape, according to market research firm IDC.

IDC (Framingham, Mass.) predicts that combined shipments of traditional PCs and tablet will decline to 391.1 million units in 2019, down 3.3% compared to 2018. Combined shipments of the devices also declined in 2018, despite growth in the commercial PC market, according to the firm.

According to IDC, combined shipments of PCs and tablets — or what the firm calls its personal computing devices category — are expected to slip to 372.6 million units in 2023, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of -1.2%.

Despite the projected overall decline, IDC does predict modest growth over the next five years in detachable tablets — also known as 2-in-1s or hybrid laptops. IDC forecasts that detachables shipments will increase at a 4.6% CAGR through 2023.

IDC chart
Forecasted shipments of personal computing devices in millions. (Source: IDC)

Traditional PCs, meanwhile, will continue to experience tough sledding, with declining desktop demand offset by emerging notebook opportunities, according to IDC. The firm projects that traditional PC shipments will fall at a CAGR of 0.4% over the next five years.

Jay Chou, an IDC research manager who runs the company's PCD shipment tracking program, said in a press statement that notebooks and detachable tablets are expected to make up 53% of all personal computing device shipments by 2023.

"Even as personal computing takes place on a myriad of devices and emerging venues like the cloud, IDC believes there remains a place for portable devices that can evolve to fit changing tastes while still retaining important but under-appreciated features like a physical keyboard," Chou said.

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