The big picture: Shipments of traditional PCs are expected to reach 344.7 million units by the end of 2021 according to projections from the International Data Corporation's (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker. Furthermore, growth will continue over the next several years albeit at a slower pace due to several different factors.
The PC market will grow 13.5 percent compared to 2020, although shipments in the holiday quarter are actually forecast to drop 3.4 percent year over year due to continued supply chain constraints and backups as well as increasing logistics costs.
Jitesh Ubrani, research manager with IDC's mobility and consumer device trackers division, said the market has pulled past peak pandemic PC demand. Ubrani noted that while they have seen some slowing of certain segments and markets, like in education where saturation is starting to happen, gaming demand remains high and overall consumer demand is well above pre-pandemic levels.
Turning our attention to the future, IDC expects the PC market will start to slow in 2022. Even still, the firm believes we'll see a five-year compound annual growth rate of 3.3 percent, and that much of that growth will come from the notebook segment.
It's a bit of a different story for the tablet industry. Despite annual shipments growing 4.3 across 2021, IDC expects to see a decline of 8.6 percent in the fourth quarter. Over the long term, growth will continue to dip due to sustained pressure from smartphones and notebook PCs.
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