Desktops, laptops, tablets and related devices sold better than expected in the third quarter, which means that all of 2019 will be slightly improved for the overall personal computing category compared to a year ago.
Microsoft’s upcoming end of support for Windows 7 on Jan. 14 was a big factor in the improvement, according to IDC. Commercial organizations globally upgraded throughout the year.
As a result, IDC said Tuesday that overall shipments for the category that it calls personal computing devices (PCDs) will reach 407.7 million units, up 0.5% from 2018.
However, 2020 and beyond show negative growth, dipping to 366.7 million devices shipped in 2023 and a negative annual growth rate of 2.6%.
Next year, upcoming tariffs and chip shortages and the end of Windows 7 upgrades will lead to a 7% decline in new shipments.
IDC also said that computing power is moving into the cloud and across various devices and sensors, which means that PC and tablet expansion is unlikely over the long haul.
By category, slate tablets will show the biggest declines in the next four years, IDC noted. Slate tablets like the iPad will drop from 107 million shipped in 2019 to 67 million in 2023, a drop of about 11% a year. Laptops and mobile workstations will decline from 75 million to 50 million over the same period, a decline of almost 10% a year. Desktops and workstations will decline from 94 million to 76.5 million, about 5% a year decline.
Ultraslim devices and 2-in-1 computers will actually gain in popularity by 2023. The number of 2-in-1 devices shipped in 2019 will total about 50.5 million, and increase to 72.4 million in 2023, an annual increase of more than 9%. Ultraslims will go from 81 million to 100 million, an annual increase of 5%.
In 2023, ultraslims will have the largest share of the overall PCD category at 27.3%, followed by desktops (20.9%), 2-in-1s (19.7%), slate tablets (18.3%) and notebooks (13.7%).
IDC said that as traditional desktops and laptops decline there will be more interest in gaming PCs. And slate tablets will decline, but companies that make them, like Apple, Samsung and Huawei, will slowly shift their slates to a portfolio of detachable tablets.