PC market pulls past peak pandemic demand, and IDC says it will keep growing

Lappies are leaping – albeit a little lower – and gamers are growing, but tablets are turgid

While the PC market is cooling following two straight years of double-digit growth spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, analyst firm International Data Corporation (IDC) has predicted shipments will continue to grow over the next five years.

The analyst firm's latest Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker predicts the PC market will enjoy a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.3 per cent. Notebook PCs will drive the growth, but tablets will decline.

"The market has pulled past peak pandemic PC demand," alliterated Jitesh Ubrani, research manager with IDC's Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers. Gaming will be partly responsible for the uplift, but the education segment is saturated and therefore tapering the market growth.

By the end of 2021, global shipments of traditional PCs are expected to hit 344.7 million units. Annual shipments are expected to grow 13.5 per cent during the year but decline 3.4 per cent in the year's final quarter and the Christmas season due to supply chain issues and costs associated with logistics.

Similarly, annual shipment growth for tablets is expected to the tune of 4.3 per cent, but fourth quarter shipments are predicted to decline a whopping 8.6 per cent year over year.

Big PC manufacturers seem to have learned how to cope with supply chain issues impacting product availability. Dell in particular said it is now more worried about logistics. However, being familiar with the issues does not negate them. With not enough components to go around, PC makers are often forced to sacrifice features in lower-end products. Take for example Chromebooks – no, please, take one – a product HP is having a hard time shifting as sales trend towards enterprise kit and away from lower-end student and home PCs.

The situation has made pricing product hard. Ryan Reith, program vice president at IDC told The Register in late October to expect a short- term price bump that may carry through the first half of next year as demand for PCs exceeds supply.

Overall, PC resellers can expect not just more units to move, but more currency to change hands. ®

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