It seems that rumors of the PC's demise have been greatly exaggerated. The worldwide market for traditional PC sales – which includes desktop PCs, laptops, and workstations – has seen its first full year of growth since 2011, according to two leading market research companies. International Data Corporation (opens in new tab) (IDC) have reported that global PC shipments grew 2.7% year over year in 2019, with an impressive 4.8% year on year increase in the fourth quarter. It seems more and more people are investing in one of the best home computers (opens in new tab) for themselves.
Another market research firm, Gartner (opens in new tab), had a slightly more conservative outlook, estimating a 2.3% increase from the fourth quarter of last year, which would be 0.6% year on year growth from 2018. It’s not all good news for PCs though, as Gartner clarified that while the market as whole is growing, this is being led by business PC demand, in contrast with “the ongoing weakness” of consumer PC demand.
Growth is being led largely by Windows 7 coming to its end of service (opens in new tab), meaning that Microsoft will no longer be supporting the operating system with security updates. While some users have been able to simply upgrade their operating system to Windows 10 (opens in new tab), many businesses and consumers are upgrading to new Windows 10 powered devices.
Both companies were quick to point out that while this is undoubtedly good news for the PC market, there are tough challenges ahead. Jitesh Ubrani, a research manager at IDC explained that “the next 12 to 18 months will be challenging for traditional PCs as the majority of Windows 10 upgrades will be in the rearview mirror”.
Traditional PCs have been experiencing difficulties for years now with the explosion in popularity of mobile devices like tablets and smartphones, which offer many of the same capabilities in a compact, travel-friendly form factor. Despite this, the latest data from the US Census Bureau shows that 78% of American households still have a desktop or laptop PC.
If you’re looking beyond the home, check our guide to the best laptop for college (opens in new tab), or if you want to protect your home PC further, we have a guide to the best antivirus software (opens in new tab) packages for all needs.