We already know the PC market didn't fare very well in 2012. Global shipments shrank for the whole year, and we even saw a decline in the normally fruitful holiday quarter. Unfortunately, we may not be out of the woods yet. IDC has released its shipment forecast for 2013, and it says we're due for another bad year.
IDC expects the circumstances that led to last year's decline—a saturated market, a bad economy, and sluggish Windows 8 adoption—to carry on "at least" through the first half of this year. We may see some "marginal momentum" in the second half of 2013, but reportedly not enough to prevent full-year shipments from declining by 1.3%.
Other factors will also contribute, including slowing growth in emerging markets and continued competition from tablets. Here's the way Loren Loverde, Program Vice President for IDC's Worldwide PC Trackers, puts it:
The PC market is still looking for updated models to gain traction and demonstrate sufficient appeal to drive growth in a very competitive market. . . . Growth in emerging regions has slowed considerably, and we continue to see constrained PC demand as buyers favor other devices for their mobility and convenience features. We still don't see tablets (with limited local storage, file system, lesser focus on traditional productivity, etc.) as functional competitors to PCs – but they are winning consumer dollars with mobility and consumer appeal nevertheless.
At least a 1.3% decline isn't as bad as the 3.5% slump the PC market suffered last year.
IDC expects things to improve in 2014 and 2015—we're due for "limited growth" in those years, it says. However, the firm also predicts "contracting volume" in later years.