Analysts from market research firm IDC have released a report about their expectations for the PC market through 2014. The company writes global growth in the PC market is expected to hit 12.6 percent as the recovery picks up, and claims sales will continue to see double-digit growth for the foreseeable future. Mobile computers will be the biggest sales driver, IDC predicts shipments of portable computers will grow from 168.8 million units in 2009 to 398.1 million units in 2014, while sales of desktop PCs are expected to increase just a little from 127.1 million units in 2009 to 133.2 million units in 2014.
After a severely constrained first half, steeply discounted PCs along with improving economic conditions steered the global PC market back into the black in the latter half of 2009. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, the yearly growth rate for the worldwide PC market in 2009 was 2.9%.
Portable PCs remained the key market driver, with shipments increasing 18.4% in 2009 compared to 2008. Consumer purchases of portable PCs were the sole driver of the market, growing at 38.5%. Commercial shipments were severely strained but showed signs of life near the end of the year as fourth quarter growth came in just under 1%, providing a glimpse of an anticipated commercial refresh in 2010. As a harbinger that the pace of ASP declines will moderate, mininotebook growth slowed in the fourth quarter as the volume of other notebook categories grew 22% year over year.
With the recovery picking up, the PC market is expected to resume expansion in 2010 with global growth of 12.6%. Emerging regions, which have been instrumental in reviving the market, are expected to maintain course; growing 18.5% in 2010 and overtake mature markets in volume during 2010 and beyond. Mature markets should see 2010 come in at 7.2%, with double digit volume growth resuming in 2011. Portable PCs will remain the driver of growth across consumer and commercial segments, reaching a 70% share of PCs by 2012. In the meantime, desktop PCs will see a decline across all regions except Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan), resulting in slightly positive yearly growth throughout the forecast period.
Set against the backdrop of a positive shipment outlook, market revenue will recover at a slower pace. 2010 should see revenue growth; albeit at 5% and nearly 7% in 2011. However, compared against the record revenues seen in 2008, PC market revenue is not expected to surpass the 2008 number until 2012; and will need a shipment total 140 million units higher than the 2008 market.
"PC volume continued to grow in 2009 – fairing much better than in 2001, when a smaller recession produced a decline in PC volume. The positive 2009 results reflect lower prices and the fact that PCs are increasingly a must-have product," said Jay Chou, research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. "With lean margins and further market consolidation remaining a harsh reality for the foreseeable future, vendors are increasingly looking to a mix of volume and specialized products to grow revenue, including new combinations of portability, performance, and the intriguing possibilities of touch computing. Overcoming challenges, such as synchronizing data across multiple devices, will be an important step in enabling adoption of more devices and expanding market growth."
"IDC is keenly focused on the forthcoming tablet device market," said Bob O'Donnell, IDC vice president, Clients and Displays."However, we don't expect these products – which do not meet the current IDC definition of a PC – will stunt the strong growth in PCs we’re expecting to see this year."