The ailing PC market is in poorer condition than previously thought and will never return to the peak health it was in two years ago, according to a gloomy new forecast by market watcher IDC.

IDC now predicts that global PC shipments will fall by 9.7% in 2013, far more than the 1.3% predicted in March and worse than the revised 8% figure given in May.

The reason behind the revision was almost a case of the usual suspects. IDC says that though consumers are still opting for mobile devices over PCs, also impacting the market is poor demand in emerging markets such as China, which have long propped up the market's sagging backend.

It also claims that launch of Windows 8.1, which IDC says is "expected to address a number of well-documented concerns" in Windows 8, won't be enough to slow the decline of PC shipments in 2013.

Prolongued decline

IDC predicts that the current prolongued decline in PC shipments will continue through to at least 2014, but may see 'modest' growth starting in 2015. It mainly puts that down to people upgrading their PCs, adding that businesses may have plucked up the courage to upgrade their systems beyond Windows 7 by that time.

The analyst house counts Desktop, Mini Notebook and other Portable PCs in its figures, but does not factor in tablets, such as Apple's iPad or the numerous Android slates on the market.

x86 promise?

Interestingly, IDC Senior Research Analyst Kay Chou notes how "advancements in PC hardware, such as improvements in the power efficiency of x86 processors remain encouraging".

That could be applied to Acer's 8.1-inch Iconia W3 tablet-PC-hybrid, which houses Intel's x86 Clover Trail Atom CPU and can run fully-fledged legacy Windows applications in addition to those from the Microsoft Store.

Intel is reportedly working on new 'Trail' processors for tablets that could provide smaller Windows-powered hybrid devices with greater power, further blurring the lines between them and more powerful PCs.