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Asia/Pacific PC market reports dramatic decline in 2023
Wed, 20th Mar 2024

The traditional PC market in Asia/Pacific, inclusive of Japan and China, has undergone a noteworthy downturn, with a 16.1% decline in 2023, resulting in just 97.4 million units shipped. This data comes as part of the International Data Corporation (IDC) Quarterly Personal Computing Devices Tracker for the fourth quarter of 2023. The report reveals that the PC market is unlikely to bounce back dramatically during 2024, due largely to weakened demand and sluggish economic recovery in the region.

During 2023, every quarter demonstrated a decrease compared with the previous year for the Asia/Pacific regions. This is attributed to the consistent decline in demand across both commercial and consumer sectors. According to Matthew Ong, IDC Asia/Pacific's Senior Market Analyst for Devices Research, personal device purchases were soft because a significant proportion of the demand had already been met during the COVID-19 pandemic. He further linked the slow market activity in 2023 to challenging economic conditions and a tendency among market leaders to limit shipments to avert overstocking, particularly during the early half of the year.

The consumer PC market witnessed a 17.4% drop with 48.5 million units sold. More specifically, desktop shipments contracted by 22.0% and consumer notebooks by 15.8%. Factors such as inflation and a change in consumers' spending priorities, along with enhanced interest rates, which together weakened people's purchasing power, were cited as key influencers causing an adverse impact on demand. The commercial PC market also showed a considerable decline of 14.8%, resulting in shipments of 48.8 million units. The decline is linked with a cautious approach towards IT expenditure in the private sector, leading to fewer orders and delayed replacements under tougher macroeconomic climate. Even the public sector registered lower shipments than recent years owing to a slowdown in demand amidst the pandemic and fewer projects being undertaken.

However, IDC forecasts marginal growth in PC shipments in 2024, predicting a rise of just 0.4% with an estimated 97.8 million units. The market is likely to remain weak during the first half of the year, with prospective growth expected in the latter half, primarily in China and Japan. The slight pick-up in China is anticipated due to a possible economic upturn leading to increased PC purchases. In Japan, a rise in replacement demand is expected for PCs bought prior to the discontinuation of support for Windows 7 in 2019.

While 2024 is likely to remain a challenging year for everyone involved in the PC industry, new technologies such as on-device Artificial Intelligence (AI), coupled with a probable rebound in consumer demand and a hike in commercial renewals, could lead to a 7.9% growth in 2025. According to Maciek Gornicki, the Senior Research Manager of IDC Asia/Pacific for Devices Research, the market is likely to witness moderate growth, fueled primarily by commercial refreshes, educational initiatives and a consumer demand rebound. However, Gornicki concludes that AI-empowered PCs might replace existing devices more gradually due to economic uncertainties, which might moderate the overall growth rate within the market.