Research firm IDC said that PC and tablet shipments will suffer into 2023, another indication of the macroeconomic forces taking hold across the globe.
But it’s not all bad news – the shift to hybrid and remote work could sustain sales as the economy falters in the short term.
However, increased inflationary costs will surely take a significant bite out of those expected profits, experts said.
IDC projects global shipments of traditional PCs to decline 12.8 per cent in 2022 to 205.3 million units and table shipments to drop 6.8 per cent to 158.8 million units.
The research firm blamed inflation, a weakening economy and the pandemic-fueled surge in tech buying over the last two years for the demand drop.
IDC also expects further declines in 2023 as consumer demand slows and education demand drops off.
Enterprise purchasing, the firm says, will also suffer because of macroeconomic conditions.
The combined market for PCs and tablets is expected to decline 2.6 per cent in 2023 before rising again in 2024.
“The demand is slowing, but the outlook for shipments remains above pre-pandemic levels,” Jitish Ubrani, research manager for IDC Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers, said.
“Long-term demand will be driven by a slow economic recovery combined with an enterprise hardware refresh as support for Windows 10 nears its end."
"Educational deployments and hybrid work are also expected to become a mainstay driving additional volumes,” Ubrani added.
"With economic headwinds gaining speed, we expect worsening consumer sentiment to result in further consumer market contractions over the next six quarters," Linn Huang, research vice president at IDC’s Devices and Displays, said.
Economic recover in time for the next major refresh cycle could propel some growth in the outer years of our forecast,” Huang said.
“Though volumes won’t hit pandemic peaks, we expect the consumer market to drive towards more premium ends of the market,” Huang added.
Paradigm shift to hybrid work
HP for example is banking on a market shift to more premium business units needed for hybrid work after the IT giant noted a 32 per cent drop in notebook revenue year-over-year for its fiscal 2022 third quarter.
“Whether we like it or not, volatility is going to stay with us for some time,” HP chief executive Enrique Lores said at the company’s Amplify partner event.
“When we look at the economic situation… inflation, wares, potential energy price increases, the geopolitical situation – clearly things are not stable.
And they are not going to be stable for a while,” Lores said.
Lores believes changing long-term trends are a cause for optimism, and will continue to fuel HP's growth and create opportunities in the future.
IT channel partners, who have dealt with a rapidly changing business landscape since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, are onboard with the shift toward hybrid work, even if that might mean dealing with short-term pains.
Persistent supply chain snarls over the last couple of years have meant massive headaches for MSPs and others as they deal with vendor backlogs that can last up to several months, dragging on or downright killing potential profits despite historic demand.
The hope is that demand for hybrid and remote work forced by the pandemic will continue even as the pandemic eases into its next phase.