The figures are still large. In 2013 there were 314.2 million PCs sold worldwide, 178.6 million of which were laptops. This is down from the total of 349.4 million PCs sold in 2012. But by 2017 this figure is expected to be just 305.1 million, declining again after the negligible growth predicted for 2015. IDC blames a lack of interest in PCs from consumers as the reason for the fall. The Apple press machine claims that this is due to everyone switching to mobile, but the reality is that most consumers don’t need a new PC when the economy is in trouble and they need a tablet for Internet surfing.
Commercial sales are down by just 5 per cent, and the indications are that companies remain unconvinced that tablets can replace desktops. Corporate replacement programmes to upgrade machines before Windows XP loses Microsoft support in 2014 are also thought to be buoying sales in the short-term.
Jay Chou, senior research analyst for IDC, which compiled the data for its Worldwide Quarterly PC Trackers said that the chief concern for future PC demand is a lack of reasons to replace an older system. The PC remains the primary computing device but PC usage is nonetheless declining each year as more devices become available.
PC lifespans continue to increase, thereby limiting market growth, Chou said.