PC and tablet shipments will continue to grow through 2021, but a slowdown is inevitable

Shawn Knight

Posts: 13,498   +132
Staff member
The big picture: Worldwide PC shipments are expected to grow 14.2 percent to reach an estimated 347 million units in 2021 according to International Data Corporation. While that might sound impressive at first, the figure is actually down from the research firm’s May forecast of 18 percent growth for the full year due to sustained supply chain and logistics challenges stemming from the global pandemic.

It’s a similar story on the tablet side, as the market is also expected to grow this year, albeit at a much slower rate of just 3.4 percent.

Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers, said the lengthening of the supply shortages combined with ongoing logistical issues are presenting some pretty big challenges for the industry.

That said, IDC maintains that the vast majority of PC demand is “non-perishable, especially from the business and education sectors.” In other words, the demand isn’t likely to diminish anytime soon. That’s good news for PC makers (at least in the short term), and goes against what was expected before the pandemic.

In its last pre-pandemic forecast from November 2019, IDC projected roughly 367 million units would be shipped in 2023. Today, that figure now sits just north of 500 million units.

“So how much is that compute centricity worth?” asked Linn Huang, research vice president, Devices & Displays at IDC. “A simplified view would suggest about 135 million units or 37% more than the original market forecast” Linn said.

Ultimately, IDC is expecting consumer spending to rebalance by 2025. Areas that saw lowered spending during lockdown, like travel and leisure, should grow over the coming years as spending on technology regresses. This will inevitably lead to a market slowdown, although shipments are still expected to be higher than forecasted before the pandemic.

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Norsiiii

Posts: 84   +110
Remember how many tech pundits had been saying for the past few years that the age of the PC was ending and that soon everybody's digital needs would be entirely met by mobile devices like smartphones and tablets?

Pepperidge farm remembers...
 

yRaz

Posts: 3,851   +4,033
Remember how many tech pundits had been saying for the past few years that the age of the PC was ending and that soon everybody's digital needs would be entirely met by mobile devices like smartphones and tablets?

Pepperidge farm remembers...
For productivity you will never beat a mouse and keyboard for making and editing documents. Mobile will become more PC like before PCs get replaced with phones and tablets
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 5,282   +6,004
Remember how many tech pundits had been saying for the past few years that the age of the PC was ending and that soon everybody's digital needs would be entirely met by mobile devices like smartphones and tablets?

Pepperidge farm remembers...


The PC is a content producer.
Tablets don't have the power to be content producers normally. They are content consumers.

Even with the pandemic, people rushed out and bought PC/ Laptops/ Macs - anything they could for distance learning, ZOOM, etc.

Ironically, the pandemic revitalized the PC.


Will we someday see tablets with the power to play multiplayer/singleplayer gaming with high quality graphics?

Will we have tablets with the power to produce videos and music on a level that the PC is capable of?

Maybe - but it's so far away it's not even likely.

I use my PC for flight simulators, gaming, content production, online netcasts, podcasts... My PC services me in ways my tablet just can't.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,223   +6,980
Seriously? This prediction shows up every other year .... followed by slowing sales of desktops .....
 

Danny101

Posts: 1,860   +796
The PC is a content producer.
Tablets don't have the power to be content producers normally. They are content consumers.

Even with the pandemic, people rushed out and bought PC/ Laptops/ Macs - anything they could for distance learning, ZOOM, etc.

Ironically, the pandemic revitalized the PC.


Will we someday see tablets with the power to play multiplayer/singleplayer gaming with high quality graphics?

Will we have tablets with the power to produce videos and music on a level that the PC is capable of?

Maybe - but it's so far away it's not even likely.

I use my PC for flight simulators, gaming, content production, online netcasts, podcasts... My PC services me in ways my tablet just can't.
The power ratio will likely stay the same. Powerful PCs produce. Laptops/tablets consume. Mobiles will consume to a lesser extent. The internet for example seems like it's not that power hungry, but it too requires more powerful computers overtime to fill the void. A computer I built in 2003 could barely run YouTube content in 2011. I killed it when I tried to overclock it at the time.

Everything ticks forward across all categories.