TechSpot means tech analysis and advice you can trust. Read our ethics statement.
The big picture: Falling demand for work-from-home setups has led to sharp declines in PC shipments over the last several quarters. However, analysts have recently observed a stabilizing market, which might lead to a recovery next year. Emerging technologies like AI processors could lead the way.
Analysts at Canalys expect global PC shipments to begin recovering from a lengthy downward slide, starting in the fourth quarter of 2023 and continuing throughout 2024. The latest Intel, Qualcomm, and Apple processors could rejuvenate interest in the sector.
Canalys predicts 5 percent annual growth for Q4 2023, representing a sharp reversal from the recent but relatively mild declines reported by other sources. Total 2024 shipments could reach 267 million units, possibly as high as an 8 percent increase from this year, which would return the sector to pre-pandemic numbers. Most of the rise might come from Latin America and the Middle East, but North America, Asia, and Europe could also post decent growth.
Oversupply, declining demand, and economic uncertainty in the post-pandemic market dragged shipments downward in virtually every hardware sector throughout 2022 and into the early months of 2023. Vendors have likely anxiously anticipated innovations or other new factors that could stimulate demand, with AI as the next rising trend.
Analysts predict that 19 percent of PCs sold in 2024 could include AI functionality, including the M3 Mac systems Apple recently launched. MacBook sales declined this year, but Apple hopes the M3 lineup could boost shipments in 2024, with new Air and Pro models ranging from 13 to 16 inches planned.
Intel will also take a big step into AI hardware in 2024. Later this month, the company will unveil Meteor Lake processors, which incorporate AI-based Neural Processing Units. Meanwhile, AMD processors began including AI blocks with the Ryzen 7040 earlier this year. The technology could provide gaming performance and help users operate generative AI models with less reliance on cloud systems.
Arm-based systems could be another positive factor in the PC market next year, as their efficiency gains lead to improved performance and battery life. Thus far, Apple Silicon has been the clear driver in Arm systems, but Qualcomm's recently unveiled Snapdragon X Elite aims to provide a Windows equivalent. If nothing else, new players and technologies are certainly making the PC CPU market more enticing.