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PC market returns to growth, helped by AI

PC market returns to growth, helped by AI

The worldwide PC market ended its streak of annual shipment declines in the last quarter of 2023, posting “modest” year-on-year growth of 3%, according to analyst house Canalys.

Total shipments of desktops and notebooks rose to 65.3m units. Shipments of notebooks hit 51.6m units, up 4% from 2022, while desktop shipments landed at 13.7m units, declining 1%.

For the full year 2023, PC shipments totalled 247m units, marking a 13% drop compared to 2022. But the market is now “poised for growth”, said Canalys, with AI-capable PCs set to provide an additional boost during the ongoing refresh cycle and beyond.

“2023 was a challenging year for the PC industry, but companies have remained resilient and can now look forward to an improving landscape,” said Himani Mukka, research manager at Canalys. “The cautious optimism across key players in the market has been borne out by a stronger holiday season compared to last year, and inventory corrections in the previous quarters have helped support renewed sell-in.

“As macroeconomic conditions continue to improve, companies and individuals that have delayed their purchasing for many quarters are now set to resume spending on PCs,” said Mukka.

“To capitalise on the demand uptick, the PC industry will now deliver meaningful innovation through on-device AI capabilities in PCs, with 2024 set to be a bumper year for such devices,” added Ishan Dutt, principal analyst at Canalys. “A slew of announcements from both OEMs and chipset vendors at this month’s CES show in Las Vegas is setting the stage for more products to be brought to market later in the year.

“We expect one-in-five PCs shipped this year to be AI-capable, incorporating a dedicated chipset or block, such as an NPU, to run on-device AI workloads. Adoption will ramp up quickly thereafter, especially in the commercial sector, where the benefits of on-device AI related to productivity, security and cost management will become a key consideration for businesses,” Dutt said.

By 2027, Canalys forecasts that over 170m AI-capable PCs will be shipped, with nearly 60% being deployed in commercial settings.