This could be the worst time to buy a new PC

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PC sales are due to fall again as the global remote working trend reaches its peak with the end of 2020, new figures have claimed.

According to analyst firm IDC, sales of PCs and tablets will begin to decline in 2021, despite enjoying a positive few quarters due to worldwide changes in working habits.

However 2021 will have been a rare positive for the market, where sales of PCs, workstations and tablets is set to grow 3.3% year over year to see shipments of 425.7 million units.

PC sales

"Consumers have been stuck at home, unable to spend on restaurants, movies, and other day-to-day activities," said David Myhrer, research vice president for IDC's Consumer Technology Strategy Service.

"Technology has been the big winner in all of this as device spending has been especially surprising, with spend at year-end, holiday-like levels throughout much of the second quarter."

PC sales had seen a first rise in seven years at the start of 2020, with the Windows 7 end of life transition helping drive upgrades for consumers and businesses alike.

The global lockdown and move to working from home continued this trend, leading to increased sales for much of the year so far, before IDC estimates that figure returns to what the firm calls a "long-term decline".

IDC says it expects the PC market to decline as businesses and consumers continue to deal with the economy uncertainty brought on by the pandemic. The firm estimates a decrease of 2.2%, with shipments set to fall to 389.6 million units in 2024.

Over the next few years, IDC predicts that sales of desktop and tablet devices will take a sharp dive, with shipments of the latter falling 7.0% by 2024.

However workstations will be a rare bright area, with the demand for more powerful computing units leading to an expected 8.9% increase between 2020 and 2024.

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.