The PC industry is in for another year of turbulence according to analyst firm IDC, which predicts that shipments will fall by 6.1 per cent in 2014 and a further 1.4 per cent by 2018.

The projected declines follow a dismal 2013 for box shifters, which saw shipments fall by 9.8 per cent year-on-year, the biggest contraction on record.

Shipments in mature markets during 2013 were actually slightly better than expected due, it is thought, to a number of short-term factors, such as a slight rise in replacements of Windows XP computers. Microsoft ends support for the ageing OS on April 8 2014.

IDC does not expect such trends to continue, however, and instead points to a continued, long-term decline driven by the rise in mobile devices.

Challenging year

While emerging markets have driven growth amongst PC shipment of late due to rising uptake within populations, they too saw a large decline of 11.3 per cent in 2013.

Loren Loverde, Vice President of IDC's Worldwide PC Trackers division, said that emerging markets are currently being affected by a weak economic environment as they undergo "significant shifts in technology buying priorities".

According to Loverde, such regions are expected to improve going forward to perform better than mature regions, but growth is only expected to stabalise rather than increase in the future.

IDC counts desktops, portables, mini notebooks and workstations among its PC figures, but not Intel-based x86 tablets or ones running Android, iOS or other versions of Windows.