The outlook for the personal computer industry this year has gone from bad to worse. The International Data Corporation (IDC) has downgraded its forecast for PC shipments worldwide for the second time. The market research firm logically thinks that this year would not be a good one for the PC industry, which is already struggling at the height of numerous challenges and setbacks.
According to the latest outlook released by IDC, shipments of computers worldwide are expected to drop by 9.7% in the entire 2013. That was worse than the previous forecast of a 7.8% decline last May. Before that, the original outlook released in March was that PC shipments may decrease by just 1.3% this year.
To date, China and many other developing countries comprise most of the demand for PCs these days. Sales in those areas complement falling shipments across the US and in Europe. However, sales in those nations may also decline in 2013. In the more developed economies, PC shipments are expected to decline further.
Increasing smartphone sales
In its latest report, IDC cited rising preference and demand for mobile devices for the forecast decline in PC sales. Not surprisingly, the continuously growing popularity of smartphones and tablets is eating up on the actual sales of computers. The PC industry is being thrown into its longest downturn in history.
Worse, IDC does not expect a turnaround soon. The research firm thinks shipments of PCs could continue to decline at least through the coming year. There is a possibility that the downturn could last longer than that.
Popular tablet PCs
Tablets are among the devices that contribute to the declining sales of PCs. But according to IDC’s latest report, even it would not be spared from declining sales, although demand for the products could still remain strong.
Shipments for tablet PCs are forecast to rise 57.7% this year from actual sales in the previous year. That would translate to shipments of up to 227.4 million units. In the previous outlook, tablet sales were expected to grow to 229.3 million units.
IDC pointed out that sales of tablets are being affected by robust demand for smartphones especially the so-called ‘phablets’ (smartphones that also look and function like tablets). Figures could possibly go worse if consumers get more interested in upcoming categories of wearable gadgets like smart watches, which would be launched by several manufacturers starting this month.