Commercial PC Market To See Steeper Decline In 2nd Half Of 2020: IDC

But the market is expected to return to growth in 2021, the research firm reported.


Despite the continued strong demand expected by major PC manufacturers for work-from-home notebooks, the commercial PC market is on its way to suffering a steeper drop during the third and fourth quarters of 2020, according to research firm IDC.

Executives at PC makers including HP Inc. and Lenovo have recently told CRN that the high demand for notebooks--which began with the transition to remote work--is expected to continue in coming quarters. Many businesses are expected to keep emphasizing remote work, with offices remaining closed or seeing lower occupancy going forward.

[Related: 6 Key Takeaways From HP's Mixed Q2 Report]

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However, the expected notebook demand does not appear to be enough to prevent a worsening slowdown in PC sales, based on IDC's figures released Thursday. Desktop PCs, in particular, are seen to be taking a major hit amid the shift to remote work from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Global unit sales for commercial PCs are projected to drop 6.9 percent during the current quarter, compared to the same period a year ago, and then slide 8.8 percent during the third quarter, according to the IDC forecast.

The decline is likely to worsen even further in the fourth quarter--with commercial PC unit sales forecast to fall 12.1 percent, year-over-year, IDC reported.

The commercial PC market is projected to return to growth in 2021, with unit sales forecast to climb 3.5 percent for the full year, according to IDC.

The expected drop in commercial PC sales during the second half of 2020 is still not nearly as bad as it's likely to be in the consumer PC market.

IDC projections have consumer PC unit sales plunging 21.3 percent during the third quarter and 14.8 percent during the fourth quarter, though 2021 is expected to see unit growth of 4 percent in the consumer PC market.

For the rest of 2020, "barring major changes in the trajectory of infections around the world, we anticipate many small and medium businesses to struggle to keep the lights on and consumers to focus on purchasing staples and other necessities in the second half of the year rather than seeking new computing devices," said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC's Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers, in a news release.

All in all for 2020, IDC has revised its PC market forecast downward--with a decline of 12.4 percent expected compared to 2019. IDC's previous projections, issued in late February, had the PC market down 9 percent year-over-year.