For the third time this year, research firm IDC has lowered their PC shipment predictions for 2013, citing continued growth in the mobile device sector at the expense of traditional PCs. IDC now believes that worldwide PC shipments will fall by 9.7% in 2013, dropping from 349.2 million in 2012 to an estimated 315.4 million.
IDC highlights "depressed" consumer interest in PC products, high levels of stagnant inventory in China, "increased enthusiasm" for smartphones and tablets, and large market contractions in emerging regions as reasons to their estimate revisions. The firm doesn't believe that Windows 8.1, or improved power efficiency in the latest x86 processors, will have any great effect in stopping the market's decline.
Looking beyond 2013, IDC believes that the declines will continue into 2014, before embarking on a slow rebuilding process. However, by 2017 the market will have only recovered slightly, due to "modest" upgrades of consumer systems whose life-cycles have "dramatically" lengthened in recent years. IDC also expect businesses to begin taking a "serious look beyond Windows 7" after 2014, where Windows 8's tepid reception will be well and truly in the past.
As IDC don't count media tablets such as the iPad or Android devices in their shipment estimations (and it's unclear exactly where x86 Windows 8 tablets fall), to predict continued declines in the PC market seems fair. More and more people are turning to tablets, especially Android tablets, as replacements for, or companions to, their laptop or desktop PCs. At the same time, many people believe that their current computer is perfectly adequate and, as IDC suggest, will take longer to upgrade than in previous years.