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Worldwide PC market plummets

Shipments of PCs and tablets are forecast to decline across Africa for the next two years, in line with a global drop

Tumultuous times are ahead for the PC and tablet markets according to a new forecast from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker. Global shipments of traditional PCs are forecast to decline 12.8% in 2022 to 305.3 million units while tablet shipments will fall 6.8% to 156.8 million.  The African market will see an even bigger decline.

Inflation, a weakening global economy, and the surge in buying over the past two years are the leading causes for the reduced outlook.

Further contraction is also expected in 2023 as consumer demand has slowed, the education demand has been largely fulfilled, and enterprise demand gets pushed out due to worsening macroeconomic conditions. The combined market for PCs and tablets is forecast to decline 2.6% in 2023 before returning to growth in 2024.

“Though demand is slowing, the outlook for shipments remains above pre-pandemic levels,” says Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers. “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.”

Linn Huang, IDC research vice president for devices and displays, says: “With economic headwinds gaining speed, we expect worsening consumer sentiment to result in further consumer market contractions over the next six quarters,” added  “Economic recovery in time for the next major refresh cycle could propel some growth in the outer years of our forecast. Though volumes won’t hit pandemic peaks, we expect the consumer market to drive towards more premium ends of the market.”

IDC research analyst Grace Munyi says that, in Africa, currency depreciations in key markets such as Egypt and South Africa are causing PCDs to become even more expensive for end users, while the markets in Nigeria and Kenya are being hampered by dollar shortages.

“Africa’s personal computing devices (PCD) market, which includes desktops, notebooks, workstations, and tablets, is forecast to see shipments decline 15.8% year on year (YoY) in 2022 to total 8-million units,” she says. “This comes as pent-up demand from the pandemic period continues to ease off and worsening macroeconomic pressures like inflation adversely impact consumer purchasing power.”

Worldwide Personal Computing Device Forecast by Product Category, Shipments, Year-Over-Year Growth, and 2022-2026 CAGR (shipments in millions)
Product Category2022 Shipments2022/2021 Growth2026 Shipments2026/2025 Growth2022-2026 CAGR
Public Sector69.2-20.3%69.00.9%-0.1%
Source: IDC Worldwide Personal Computing Device Tracker, September 1, 2022

The tablet category is expected to suffer the steepest decline in 2022, with shipments forecast to fall 23.6% YoY to 2.8-million units as a result of greatly reduced education demand and lower levels of consumer spending. Meanwhile, PC shipments will fall 10.6% over the same period to 5.3-million units, with the sharpest declines to be seen in the education, consumer, and SMB segments.

“Despite this, large deals continue to be fulfilled within the commercial segment across various markets in the region.

“Looking ahead, the combined market for PC and tablets is expected to continue to decline in 2023, but at a lower rate of 0.6% YoY, before returning to growth in 2024. Shipments are expected to remain higher than pre-pandemic levels as ICT adoption and integration continue to grow in Africa. This will be further supported by the recovery of economies, device refresh cycles aimed at integrating Windows 11, and the proliferation of hybrid work models. The digitalisation of Africa’s education systems is also anticipated to be a mainstay of demand moving forward.”

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