Worldwide PC shipments are "on the verge of recovery" following seven consecutive quarters of decline, according to analyst house Canalys.
The market is expected to return to growth of 5% in Q4 2023, boosted by a strong holiday season and an improving macroeconomic environment.
Looking ahead, said the analyst, full-year 2024 shipments are forecast to hit 267m units, landing 8% higher than in 2023, helped by tailwinds including the Windows refresh cycle and the emergence of AI-capable and Arm-based devices.
"The global PC market is on a recovery path and set to return to 2019 shipment levels by next year," said Canalys analyst Ben Yeh. "The impact of AI on the PC industry will be profound, with leading players across OEMs, processor manufacturers, and operating system providers focused on delivering new AI-capable models in 2024.
"These initiatives will bolster refresh demand, particularly in the commercial sector. The total shipment share of AI-capable PCs is expected to be about 19% in 2024. This accounts for all M-series Mac products alongside the nascent offerings expected in the Windows ecosystem."
As more compelling use-cases emerge and AI functionality becomes an expected feature, Canalys anticipates a "fast ramp up" in the further development and adoption of AI-capable PCs.
“Following a prolonged period of delayed purchasing, the commercial segment is poised for a demand bump in 2024,” added Canalys principal analyst Ishan Dutt. “Channel sentiment around PC business performance next year is positive, with 47% of partners polled in November anticipating their Windows PC shipments to grow 10% or more next year. SMBs have been highlighted as a strong opportunity, with the recent macroeconomic difficulties having had a proportionally larger impact on their ability to budget for PC procurement over the last several quarters."
Next year will also bring a proliferation of Arm-based PCs, largely driven by Qualcomm’s X Elite chip. While uptake is initially likely to be restrained, particularly in commercial settings, the ability to deliver improvements in power efficiency and battery life "will be a boon" to offerings partners can bring to customers, said Canalys.