The fall in PC sales is set to accelerate, with a worldwide 7.8% downturn expected for 2013, according the latest figures from the Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker from IDC; but a mild upturn is expected over the next few years as businesses in particular replace old machines.
The analyst house is projecting that the total for desktops and laptops will hit 321.9 million this year, down from 349.2 million in 2012. This is forecast to rise slightly to 333.4 million by 2017.
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Shipments are being hit by the increasing preference for smartphones and tablets.
Loren Loverde, VP for the Quarterly PC Tracker Programme, said that people are realising there's no need for the computing power in PCs to access the web and social media and use many apps, and are paying more attention to battery life, touchscreens and an instant-on function.
He told TRPro, however, that at some time they will need to replace PCs with levels of computing power and storage that tablets are unable to provide.
This will be supported by economic recovery, the replacement of old models as Microsoft withdraws support for Windows XP next year, a growing acceptance of Windows 8 and the design of new models running on the operating system.
The figure includes models that can be converted between laptops and tablets, but Loverde said this will not be a major factor in the increase.
"We think convertibles have inherent issues," he said. "They tend to be heavier and not as consistent to use.
"But to the extent where they can bring down the weight and thickness there is an appeal in a single device that can provide office productivity and storage and still operate as a tablet."