AI PCs will not drive PC business growth in 2024, says IDC

The worldwide PC market is expected to have flat growth in 2024 with shipments of 260.2 million units, despite the launch of PCs with onboard neural processing units (NPU) colloquially dubbed AI PCs, IDC said.
Forecast on AI PC market IDC reportExcluding China, the PC market is forecast to grow 2.6 percent in 2024 while the PC market in China is not expected to recover until the second half of 2025, the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker said.

For the rest of the world, PC shipments in 2024 will be driven by a few factors:

An education refresh cycle as 29.6 million PCs are shipped to this market. Many PCs purchased during the pandemic are due for a refresh. The lower budget means that the refresh cycle will be spread over multiple years rather than a huge spike for a short period of time as seen during the pandemic.

A Windows refresh cycle is about to begin as the end of support for Windows 10 in late 2025 is expected to lead to PC refreshes starting in the second half of 2024.

In the consumer market, IDC anticipates a decline in shipments of 1.1 percent in 2024. The consumer market will grow 1.6 percent year over year if China is excluded.

Outside of the refresh cycles, AI PCs based on Qualcomm’s recently launched silicon, as well as newer parts from AMD and Intel arriving later this year, are expected to drive an increase in near-term shipments. However, over the long term, AI PCs are not likely to drive shipment volume, but they are forecast to fuel an increase in average selling prices (ASPs).

While the noise around on-device AI may seem a bit unwarranted due to the lack well-defined use cases for business and enterprise users, these devices will bring with them a momentous shift in computing by offering content generation and increased productivity over the next few years, said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers.

These announcements were just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the industry’s long-term vision of AI PCs: devices that automate, support, and inspire their users through the use of generative AI. Eventually, AI will be ubiquitous on PCs, Linn Huang, research vice president, Devices and Displays at IDC, said.

AI PCs (defined here as those with NPUs) will be ramping up from roughly one in five this year, to nearly two out of every three shipped in 2028, IDC said.

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