PC shipments are forecast to contract by 7 percent on an annual basis this year due to a global recession, Singapore-based market advisory firm Canalys Co said in a report yesterday.
Worldwide shipments of desktops, laptops and tablets are expected to decrease from 395.6 million units last year to 367.8 million units this year, the report said, citing the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic consequences as a reason.
While the pandemic has given the PC market a boost over the past few months due to global lockdowns, which drove remote work and distance learning, its impact on consumer spending cannot be neglected, the report said.
“The recessionary impact of the coronavirus on global economies will not be minor, and consumers, businesses and governments will prioritize vital spending ahead of PC refresh when times get tough,” it said.
The market for desktops would be the most affected, as businesses face prolonged uncertainty about the scope of their operations and dedicated office space needs, Canalys analyst Ishan Dutt said.
“Tablets, which have the greatest reliance on consumer spending, will face a slump as holiday season demand in Q4 is expected to take a hit this year,” Dutt added.
However, laptops are the least likely to face a decline in demand as businesses are choosing to implement remote working at a larger scale after implementing it successfully during lockdowns, Dutt said.
Market demand is also likely to be sustained by the education sector, as schools have made investments in digital curricula and are implementing only partial returns to on-premises learning, Dutt said.
In a regional breakdown, Canalys forecast a 3 percent and 1 percent decline each in PC shipments this year for China and the Asia-Pacific region respectively.
While demand in China is expected to be healthy for the rest of the year after being mostly affected by the pandemic in the first quarter, the country might see slower market growth as its economy remains reliant on exports to countries that could face deeper recessions, the report said.
PC demand in the Asia-Pacific region is expected to be dragged down by South and Southeast Asian countries, which are only now easing nationwide lockdowns.
As most consumers do not consider PCs essential goods, upcoming recessions in these countries would cause them to delay and lower overall spending, leading to a lengthening of refresh rates for PCs, it said.
PC shipments are forecast to fall 10 percent in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and 6 percent in North America this year.
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