Desktop PCs on the way out – but staying in your office for a while yet

Written by David Adams

Global shipments of desktop PCs fell by 2.7 per cent during 2017; and demand for traditional PCs is expected to contract at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 0.9 per cent between 2017 and 2022, according to data from IDC. Even if anticipated demand for detachable tablet devices like Microsoft’s Surface Pro is added to the figures demand for PCs will only grow by a CAGR of 0.1 per cent to 2022.

Declining demand for PCs is due in large part to waning enthusiasm for them among consumers. But don’t expect them to disappear from the workplace anytime soon: commercial demand is expected to stay positive, although it too may slow after 2020 – as organisations complete migration to Windows 10, IDC suggests.

Desktops’ share of overall personal computing shipments is expected to fall from 23.1 per cent in 2017 to 22.3 per cent in 2022. Slate tablets will also lose ground, with their share of the market falling from 33.5 per cent in 2017 to 26.7 per cent. Notebooks/mobile workstations will account for 42.1 per cent of shipments in 2022, up from 38.2 per cent; while detachable tablets’ share will increase from 5.2 per cent to nine per cent.

IDC does pick out some positive indicators, including anticipated healthy demand for detachable and convertible tablets among consumers and business users.

“As expected, the PCD market ended 2017 with a contraction,” said Jay Chou, research manager for IDC’s Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker. “But behind this number is a silver lining that shows the notebook segment posting its most positive growth since 2012, a point bolstered by the continued consumer migration to premium and ultraslim form factors.” It also suggested demand will remain particularly strong in emerging markets over the next five years.

IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker gathers data in more than 90 countries, providing trends on desktops, notebooks, detachable tablets, slate tablets and workstations.