IDC: PC shipments fall 9.8% in 2013

Ready for more doom and gloom about the state of the PC industry? Market research firm IDC has published PC shipment figures for 2013, and they show a 9.8% decline from 2012. The portable PC segment suffered the most, with shipments falling 11.3% for the year. Desktop PC sales fell only 7.8%.

IDC predicted the PC market would shrink by 10.1% in 2013, but the Q4 results were better than expected, so the news isn’t all bad. Here’s a breakdown of the numbers along with the firm’s projections for future years.

  2012 2013 2014* 2018*
Desktop 148.8 136.7 129.1 119.2
Portable 202.0 178.4 166.8 172.5
Total 350.4 315.1 295.9 291.7

According to IDC, the bleeding will continue in 2014, albeit at a slower rate. Volumes are expected to be slightly down in following years and to level off by 2018.

Despite the stronger-than-expected Q4 results, IDC’s latest forecast its more pessimistic than its previous predictions. The firm cites stiffer mobile competition and weaker economic conditions in emerging markets as part of the impetus behind its more negative outlook. Those markets were supposed to be growth areas for the PC, but volumes are expected to continue falling at a faster pace than in more mature markets.

Although the IDC numbers don’t single out PC hardware built for gamers and enthusiasts, the outlook for that segment is more positive. Jon Peddie Research expects the PC gaming hardware market to grow 6.5% in 2014. I haven’t seen any 2013 numbers for that slice of the market, though.

Comments closed
    • trackerben
    • 9 years ago

    My wife’s financial institution is issuing all their mid to senior sales officers iPad Airs. It’s likely driven by iOS’s golden security track record. Most have a regular need to access centralized banking and regulatory back-ends throughout the day and VPN’d iPads are the gold standard in remote access and online transactions.

    • trackerben
    • 9 years ago

    change is one thing, acceptance is another I guess

    • oldog
    • 9 years ago

    We like immigrants as well. We just don’t want to make them citizens:)

    But you may misunderstand the nature of immigration in my town.

    “According to Professor Vyacheslav Ivanov of UCLA, there are at least 224 identified languages in Los Angeles County. This does not include differing dialects.”

    And in regards to Saskatoon… I didn’t say you had to live there!

    • sweatshopking
    • 9 years ago

    “illegals” isn’t a real word. in canada we LIKE immigrants, and don’t abuse them as much. Maybe we can learn from the superior more explotive model used in the USA and understand how best to treat them badly.

    As for sask, HAVE YOU EVER BEEN THERE? I SPENT A YEAR IN SOUTH SASK AND NEVER AGAIN. YOU COULDN’T PAY ME TO LIVE THERE. IT’S THE WORST.

    • oldog
    • 9 years ago

    Based on a State side arm chair look at Canada, it would appear that Canada is better positioned than almost Western democracy to do well in the future.

    I anticipate that you may be getting illegals in some number from the US soon. Probably, best to build a fence now.

    • Deanjo
    • 9 years ago

    Yup there are tons of opportunities here. Projected to double in size by 2020.

    • oldog
    • 9 years ago

    IDK. How about real estate in Saskatoon? Never been there myself but it’s a fast growing industrial city. There are probably opportunities.

    • moose17145
    • 9 years ago

    Im not sure that the PC is dying as much as the market is now finally making a shift the auto industry had to make itself many decades ago. There are not many people buying PC’s now that have never owned a PC before. Almost every PC being sold is a replacement for an older PC. It is not a PC that is being sold to someone as the first PC they have ever owned. Might sound crazy, but I work at a small tech shop, and you would be utterly shocked at home many people’s first computer was a Pentium 4 Dell running windows XP… In some people’s cases their first computer was a windows Vista box!

    Edit: Basically what I am getting at is I think the market is finally simply making a shift that has long been on the horizon that is now finally here. For instance… we aren’t seeing 600+% growth for tablets either anymore… and i suspect that tablet sales will see a decline much quicker than the PC did as tablet sales shift from selling people their first ever tablet, to going into simply selling tablets and replacements for broken or old tablets.

    • indeego
    • 9 years ago

    Makes it a pain just to get to its own diagnostics!

    • sweatshopking
    • 9 years ago

    I think your post is true. We’ve long had pcs that do enough. Anyone with a core 2 likely needs little more. I’m still running a phenom II 940 with ddr2, and besides faster turns in civ v ( on a huge map can take a WHILE), and some CPU lag in crysis 3, there is literally no reason to upgrade. And those are two HIGH end uses. People buy computers for fun and work, and they’re more than good enough for the vast majority of work if they came out in the last seven years. That leaves only fun, and OMG ANGRY BIRDS AND FLAPPY BIRDS AND OTHER BIRDS GAMES ARE WAYYY MORE FUN THAT THAT PC GARBAGE.

    • sweatshopking
    • 9 years ago

    HI! MY NAME IS SWEATSHOPKING! WHERE CAN I GET THIS SUCCESS YOU MENTION?

    • MadManOriginal
    • 9 years ago

    For employees who don’t do any real productivity work, sure. But do those places replace PCs altogether or just supplement them with tablets which do make sense for things like presentations? Hybrids would count as PCs though unless you mean non-Windows hybrids but those still aren’t real productivity machines.

    • End User
    • 9 years ago

    Hell yeah!

    • End User
    • 9 years ago

    Apple Q1 2014 was for the period ending December 28, 2013.

    [quote<]Basically they're almost back to even with 2012.[/quote<] One hell of a recovery.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 9 years ago

    Could be, depending on the device and service plan. So I take it you are just saying that to support what I said. ‘All consumer business in some sort of decline’ as posted by the OP clearly isn’t true.

    • xeridea
    • 9 years ago

    I haven’t tried dual boot since like 2001, but I switched my work laptop (Win8) to an SSD, and it was a huge pain. After cloning partitions and setting proper flags with GParted, You have to google a long list of commands to type from a recovery flash drive (or DVD). I then upgraded SSD for my Win7 desktop, I just cloned, and ran recovery so it would fix the bootloader.

    • xeridea
    • 9 years ago

    Tablets are doing well because of a fad, and they are seen as a status symbol. They aren’t really useful, I would say 80% of the people who get them get them just to look cool.

    • xeridea
    • 9 years ago

    Well, Vista outsold Windows 8, and it was plagued with bugs, driver issues, recurring crashes, high requirements, general slowness, and over-zealous UAC.

    • indeego
    • 9 years ago

    You just ignored my posting because it fits your bubble.

    Median income isn’t under discussion. An argument could be made that PCs are far cheaper than they were in 1992. I can remember spending $3500 back then for a mid/high-range Dell.

    Single worker households, again, I don’t care. You now have over half the planet on mobile devices, and nobody is clambering for Windows in any economic demographic. If your statement about unemployment being a factor, wouldn’t those that do have expendable cash still be spending on Desktops? They simply aren’t.

    You’re diverging the topic, and lovely TR is upvoting you for it. More amusement fodder.

    • oldog
    • 9 years ago

    I have no doubt that opportunities are more limited than when I was young. Nevertheless, hard work and prudent investments will be wise strategies moving forward. There is not a single poster on this site that does not have the wherewithal to be enormously successful (personal observation).

    It has been noted by psychologists that a pessimist’s view of the world is more accurate than the optimist. Even so, by every measure the optimist is more successful in life.

    If you are so inclined try reading one of Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman recent books. It might just change your viewpoint.

    • Ninjitsu
    • 9 years ago

    Forget dual boot, Win 8 makes it a pain to get to the UEFI screen.

    • NeelyCam
    • 9 years ago

    You know what would be cool? If that small laptop was powered by the display.

    Displays are usually pretty big, and they get their juice from the wall. Why not run that juice to a NUC or something with whatever cable carries the video signal? DisplayPort/HDMI don’t support that now, but maybe in the future? Or maybe USB3.1 (or 3.2 or 4 etc.) would be enough to transfer video from NUC to display AND power from display to NUC?

    • sweatshopking
    • 9 years ago

    I knew you’d reply. I’m just teasing.

    • Mat3
    • 9 years ago

    Want to do some real work or gaming? Get a desktop. Want to be mobile while doing some light fluff? Get a tablet. Want something that’s so-so at both? Get a laptop.

    I’d rather have the PC + tablet combo myself.

    • Aliasundercover
    • 9 years ago

    Now is the time of year I have most often looked at replacing or upgrading my computer. In the past I looked forward to an excuse to get something new. Now? Whatever.

    Processor performance is only up a tiny bit. No doubt there are some genuine technical reasons but the most obvious is AMD falling out of the competition. Intel is taking their time optimizing their margins. The technical barriers are real too, mostly allowing for marginal things like cores or specialized SIMD instructions. The pleasant feeling of a new computer making everything snappy is isolated to SSDs and large memory sizes helping with start time and I/O. Program performance after startup is about the same.

    Windows 8 hurts. I don’t want to turn my multiple monitor set up in to an ersatz tablet. Not-Metro with its app-store or game console style lock down isn’t my idea of a PC either. A nicer PC could get my money but not that GMO oddity. If I wanted a tablet I would buy a tablet.

    Setting up a new PC and moving my stuff over is a substantial chore in addition to the money. While I spend more and more time in Linux which I can clone right off my existing PC the Windows side of things still sees use and takes a lot of install time. Beyond that I have read Windows 8 does new and hostile things to challenge dual boot. I haven’t found authoritative sources and haven’t attempted it myself. I just know it will take time as things have changed.

    Screens show signs of improvement but not yet. Phones and tablets have nice new screens but laptops still have crap unless you like models with glued in batteries and small memory. Desktop screens shimmer on the horizon but the present choice is between massive money and the same old same old.

    I find it surprising PC sales haven’t crashed worse. Industry innovation has stampeded away from PCs toward phones and tablets. 10% decline seems tame given how people already have PCs and there is nothing new on offer.

    • dragontamer5788
    • 9 years ago

    “The Economy” means different things to different people. OneArmedScissor is using unemployment numbers to determine the health of “the economy”, which is a very down-to-earth measurement. Unemployment numbers (and non-employment numbers) estimate how people feel pretty well.

    However, the measurement you’re looking into (Stock Market) plays closer to GDP. The advantage of your (oldog’s) definition is that its the one economists typically use. Technically speaking, the US has left a recession by GDP and Stock Market measurements. We’ve had outstanding periods of growth and have technically recovered our losses.

    But unemployment numbers remain high, as well as underemployment numbers.

    Anyway, it isn’t so much about who is “right” and who is “wrong”. All of these measurements are like the [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_men_and_an_elephant<]Blind Men and the Elephant[/url<]. Everyone feels something different, everyone's subjective experiences are likely true... but the stories told individually seem to contradict each other. Its the job of the policymaker to attempt to discern the truth.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 9 years ago

    I wouldn’t say throwing money away, exactly. There’s plenty to like about the software. I love that there is a well-funded and usable alternative to Microsoft. For high-quality notebooks with great speed and battery life, you could do way worse than a MacBook Pro. Not very repairable anymore, but still consistently good.

    • oldog
    • 9 years ago

    You know, its this kind of thinking that keeps people from investing and making money. As an example my stock fund is up 14% in the last year. And yes that is during the poor economic conditions you have mentioned.

    Take some advice from an ol’ dog. Invest wisely when you think the economy is good and invest wisely when you think the economy is bad. You will be happy you did in 40 years from now.

    By the way the world will be just fine in 40 years from now. Will your portifolio also be fine?

    • grantmeaname
    • 9 years ago

    Hearing a statistic about a change after it happens is not the same thing as hearing a talking head’s prediction before it happens.

    • sweatshopking
    • 9 years ago

    People better not agree with you. I made the same point like three months ago and was -10000

    • sweatshopking
    • 9 years ago

    Only for people that like throwing away money.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 9 years ago

    Labor participation at 30+ year low (with single worker households) and still dropping:

    [url<]http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/CIVPART[/url<] Median income back to 1995 and still dropping: [url<]http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/MEHOINUSA672N[/url<] The unemployment rate is meaningless. It just dropped like a rock because several million people were [i<]removed[/i<] from the measurement, after being taken off federal unemployment payments. Since 1994, that is how the figure has been calculated. The fewer people working over an extended period of time, the lower the "unemployment" figure will go. And that's just the US. Other developed regions have been in a 5+ year, non-stop recession. Emerging markets are imploding all over the planet, which includes several billion people. China has already flat lined, with record debt growth going nowhere but vacant ghost cities. Think a housing bubble is bad? Wait until you see a city bubble pop.

    • indeego
    • 9 years ago

    [quote<]"Annual average unemployment rates in 2013 declined in 43 states and the District of Columbia, rose in 2 states, and were unchanged in 5 states. Employment-population ratios decreased in 28 states, increased in 17 states and the district, and were unchanged in 5 states."[/quote<] -Department of Labor If I were to wager a guess, PC's are suffering from the "Good enough" effect. They are at least where I work. There just isn't any justification to replace perfectly working 3-5 year old desktops. There's no workflow improvement. There's nothing breaking. The power differences are about it, and that certainly doesn't add up to the thousands it takes to re-license/rebuild/migrate/training/etc with new desktops.

    • indeego
    • 9 years ago

    A mobile device is ~$2000/every two years when you include accessories, insurance, Network, contract, etc not to mention all the software you’d then buy.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 9 years ago

    Since the TR news post was talking about the 2013 calendar year, my link is relevant.

    What they’ve done in 2014 isn’t really that great, as it’s historically a low quarter for PC sales overall. Being up 19% over Q1 2013 isn’t any great shakes since it was itself a 20% slide. Basically they’re almost back to even with 2012.

    [url<]http://techcrunch.com/2013/01/23/apple-mac-sales-q1-2013/[/url<]

    • beck2448
    • 9 years ago

    The trend is irreversible in the near term. Obviously millions of consumers don’t need a desktop or even a laptop when a smartphone or a tablet will do and are much more conveniently portable.
    Techies and gamers are a tiny part of the market, albeit a profitable one.

    • trackerben
    • 9 years ago

    Many could also end up replacing PCs with tablets or hybrids for business groups with less customized or industrial needs. Some financial institutions are moving entire sales divisions over to iPads, to up their mobility and facing before their clients, many of whom already sport the stuff in meetings.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 9 years ago

    Tablets are cheap, and still getting cheaper in 2013. Those are worldwide figures, including not just $100-150 tablets like Kindle and Nexus, but $20 tablets in China. Even Apple shifted down to the $300 range, well below the average sale price of laptops.

    $200-300 laptops are widely available in all shapes and sizes, so you can’t just blame the size and weight.

    Median income is dropping and fewer people are working. That is just a fact. If you don’t see how that’s turning up here, I don’t know what to tell you.

    • trackerben
    • 9 years ago

    One thing which affects expectations is power considerations. A tablet can replace many PCs as it’s easier to bring around for use in various situations, except for hardcore gaming and stuff. With cheap laptops you need to schlepp around adaptors and cables and even mice as well, unless you’re willing to station these (or even extra laptops/desktops) at every setting. If you have to spend more for a premium ultrabook to overcome the issue, you might as well opt for a premium tablet if it meets your needs.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 9 years ago

    I suspect their projections for 2014 are low too. With Won XP support ending businesses will be replacing lots of PCs.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 9 years ago

    Saying Win 8 is the problem is pure projection of your dislike of Win 8 on your part. Win 8 sales are fine, not great but not terrible.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 9 years ago

    It’s not missing anymore since you posted it :p

    • BoilerGamer
    • 9 years ago

    Yeah, that totally explained the 68% growth in tablet sales?? Including the 14% growth in Ipad sales?

    [url<]https://techreport.com/news/26107/tablet-sales-grow-68-in-2013-android-outsells-ios[/url<]

    • superjawes
    • 9 years ago

    I would expect most households to have more than one laptop, actually, as each person would have their own device rather than one that can be shared. Then it makes a lot more sense that laptops decline while tablets are on the rise, since you’re replacing a personal device with another personal device.

    EDIT: remember, geeks around here are different. We’re more likely to have a desktop for everyone in the house who wants to play games, AND an HTPC, AND other devices.

    • anotherengineer
    • 9 years ago

    ” Desktop PC sales fell only 7.8%”

    Sort of surprising considering most households probably have 2+ desktops. I have 4 including the HTPC.

    • Wirko
    • 9 years ago

    27 comments so far, and the obligatory “But tablets are PCs!” still missing. How’s that?

    • xeridea
    • 9 years ago

    The #1 driving factor is Win8. They can say its a rise in mobile interest, economy, or whatever, but if your product is a huge failure, why would anyone buy? #2 is no laptop below $800 having a screen that can be classified as a screen. Also, it isn’t necessarily a terrible thing if sales are down a bit. Technology is at the point where you don’t need to upgrade every year or 2. Why should people buy new stuff they don’t need, with money they already have tied up in $10,000 of credit card debt?

    • FanlessTech
    • 9 years ago

    Totally. Desktops are not going anywhere 🙂

    Nothing will replace the big screen experience and the horsepower. The PC will most likely return to what it was in the 70s/early 80s : scientific field, game enthusiasts, and content creators.

    • Shouefref
    • 9 years ago

    First: we’ve heard figures and predictions about 2013 before, so these are actually not really new figures. But always repeating the same figures makes it look worse than it is.
    Secondly: it’s actually rather positive: they predicted a 10.1 % decrease, and it’s only 9.8 % decrease.
    As kamikaziechameleon says: it’s the economy.
    Economy improves, sales improve.

    • Suspenders
    • 9 years ago

    These were my thoughts as well.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 9 years ago

    Not really true – look at the growth of mobile devices and tablets.

    • TEAMSWITCHER
    • 9 years ago

    This is old news. Apple’s first quarter Mac sales have rebounded 19%: [url<]http://www.macworld.com/article/2091741/apple-revenues-up-but-profits-flat-in-first-quarter.html[/url<] Macs have gained global market share in the past 30 of 31 quarters. It's pretty obvious that whatever is happening to the PC isn't having the same effect on the Mac.

    • Krogoth
    • 9 years ago

    I blame the economy and the lack of a killer app that makes mainstream systems from 2000s woefully obsolete.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 9 years ago

    I would point the finger at the economy.

    Simply put people haven’t recovered. Spending practices are changing. Almost all consumer business is in some sort of decline except high end consumer products.

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 9 years ago

    Well.

    I think you can blame Microsoft.

    You can also blame AMD for not competing with new products. How long have they had the FX line around Piledriver? Is there any change in sight? When did they first release the same GCN products they’re still rebranding even as late as yesterday?

    You can also blame Intel and nVidia for using this break from competition with AMD as a chance to focus entirely on mobility products. Who’s to blame if people see performance gains so miniscule as to not warrant an upgrade? Intel and nVidia say they have to spend less on performance products because they aren’t selling more, but how would they know if they aren’t targeting the high end primarily to begin with? More than that, they’re creeping their prices up and perhaps people see no reason to spend more and get… effectively the same?

    That is, Intel and nVidia want to go mobility, so they make up an excuse (ie., poor sales) to explain that away, but the reality is the poor sales are precisely BECAUSE there are no real substantive improvements to their products. I bet a lot of the people inside Intel and nVidia believe their own BS, too.

    You can blame Microsoft and Sony for not pushing console gaming to greater heights or switching up consoles sooner, which led to people actually catching up with their PC’s and getting “good enough for gaming” computing all around. That led to greater Steam penetration (not a bad thing), but also led to PC’s being “good enough” to not warrant an upgrade. Especially when combined with AMD’s sudden lack of cash flow to compete and Intel/nVidia’s opportunistic switch to worrying almost exclusively about power usage of their chips at the cost of the performance improvements Moore’s law used to promise us.

    Just seems like a perfect storm of changing attitudes, changing executives, and chasing the mob.

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 9 years ago

    I think tablets and smartphones are going to put the squeeze on laptops. I think desktops will make a resurgence as they are redefined by going smaller yet remaining upgradeable.

    Having a tablet to take with you and a small computer you can take with you to connect to just about any display still being sold seems like the best investments. Laptops are losing their purpose.

    • Khali
    • 9 years ago

    The PC industry has no one to blame but themselves. Lack of competition has slowed innovation to a crawl. Why improve something when you can keep selling same old stuff at high prices? Its not like Intel is facing any challenges from AMD forcing them to come up with better products at lower prices.

    The only place in the PC market I see even a glimmer of competition of any sort is in the GPU market. I’m not so sure that’s going to last if AMD’s management doesn’t get a clue soon and addresses some issues they have with drivers and substandard cooling solutions. Oh, and reigning in their retailers price gouging might be a good idea as well. And no, I’m not sure how they can do that but it needs to be done. Perhaps letting retailers know they need to get more reasonable on prices in two weeks time or AMD is going to jack up the price to the retailers. At least that way they can at least join in on the insane profits as well. AMD is getting a bad name and its not even their fault this time.

    There is no drive to upgrade a system when there is nothing new to upgrade to that’s affordable. Lets not forget that every other generation of PC tech lately is just the same tech as the generation before it with some very minor tweaks at a higher price. In short why upgrade when a machine from four to five years ago, with a few upgrades to keep up with what few new tech there is, will do what a new one will?

    When it comes to tablets I think about 75% of the people buying them are from the Facebook, web surfing, email crowd. A full fledged desktop or laptop computer was more machine than they needed to start with. Now they have a lower cost smaller sized alternative. So yes, some losses from the PC front to tablets.

    • superjawes
    • 9 years ago

    That was a great take I was not expecting…

    • superjawes
    • 9 years ago

    How can you [i<]only[/i<] blame Microsoft for following the larger market trend? Sure, you can blame them for a poor implementation, but the rise of mobile and tablet devices is actual cause for the PC market decline [i<][b<]and[/b<][/i<] Microsoft's shifted focus.

    • Kougar
    • 9 years ago

    Win 8 doesn’t get the full blame, but it sure does seem to be a major contributing factor… If they design Win 9 right and score a win it will be fun to compare the market numbers after.

    • Chrispy_
    • 9 years ago

    I’ve had people at work telling me they returned their new laptop purchase to buy a tablet.

    Their reasons? Tablets do everything they want and they couldn’t stand Windows 8.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 9 years ago

    They are, they were down about 12% (more than the PC industry as a whole) in 2013:

    [url<]http://www.macworld.com/article/2062821/apple-by-the-numbers-mac-not-dead-yet.html[/url<]

    • indeego
    • 9 years ago

    I think it’s pretty amazing they predicted within .3% of actual results, for such a massive market. Analysts spot on, in this instance…

    • albundy
    • 9 years ago

    Zero shock value. stagnant, milked to the max tech will do that.

    • albundy
    • 9 years ago

    Macs are still a thing?

    • trackerben
    • 9 years ago

    Touch-e

    • smilingcrow
    • 9 years ago

    Yes, they aren’t placebos.

    • smilingcrow
    • 9 years ago

    The shift has generally been from desktops to laptops so interesting to see desktops being less affected presumably due to tablets eating into laptop sales.

    I wonder if the total sales of PCs + Tablets by value is still increasing yearly?

    • Sieglinde
    • 9 years ago

    The only one to blame here is Microsoft. They’ve completely abandoned the PC, and now trying ever so hard to catch up to Apple and Google in the mobile/Tablet market.

    • trackerben
    • 9 years ago

    “The tablet effect is real.”

    • sweatshopking
    • 9 years ago

    Aren’t Macs down too?

    • Deanjo
    • 9 years ago

    RIP John Hodgman…… So sad……

    • superjawes
    • 9 years ago

    Oh, another decline in PC shipments?

    PC IS DEEEEEEAAAAAAAAD!!! DOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!! SO ON AND SO FOOOOOOORTH!!!

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