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"1 Million PCs Sold Every Day": Desktop PC Market Thriving Despite Tech Shortages

Projected PC Sales 2020-2025
(Image credit: IDC)

Despite the massive ongoing semiconductor, GPU and general technology shortage manufacturers are facing right now, the desktop PC market continues to grow, with new data revealing that nearly 1 million PCs are currently being sold every day. This has led the IDC to project an 18.1% growth rate for the market across all of 2021.

These numbers are astonishing to see, given how nasty component shortages have been for all computer-related devices over the past year. If demand is this high right now, we wouldn't be surprised to see even more market growth once component shortages start expiring in the next year or two. While it's true that a potential end to the pandemic might see demand drop a little, the IDC expects a 5-year annual growth rate of 3%.

Ironically, a large driving factor behind recent desktop PC sales has been the decline of laptop volume; the IDC notes that while the more technologically advanced components in laptops like CPUs, GPUs and memory are gaining in volume, laptop bottlenecks are arising elsewhere.

Instead, the shortage issues have been driven down to audio ICs, sensors, PMICs, and display drivers, which use much older (mature) nodes of 40 nm or larger. Over 50% of the entire semiconductor industry functions on these older nodes, and production for 40nm (or older) is only gradually increasing with no plans from fabs to aggressively accelerate production.

This has led the IDC to anticipate a change in the laptop and PC market, where laptop buyers will instead opt to buy desktop PCs, which will become the much more affordable option as laptop components become rarer and more expensive.

The IDC also notes that desktop PC sales, in general, are steadily increasing due to the continued popularity of PC gaming and content consumption (YouTube, Netflix etc). But, we're still far away from a complete rebound from the shortages. Luckily, the consumer market is expected to rebound to pre-pandemic levels first, before any other market. We don't know when that's going to happen, but it's still good news nonetheless. 

  • Eximo
    In other words to get "something" more people are buying through traditional retailers rather than buying in the used or component market. Not even going to go into people buying PCs with stimulus checks.
    Reply
  • waltc3
    It's amazing, but there are still some people who cannot wrap their heads around how many PCs are sold each year--it dwarfs the number of consoles sold, for instance. Always has. There's simply no numerical comparison to be made. PCs are open-ended computing devices that not only can run the latest games with available hardware that is a multiple of Xs faster/better/newer than what comes in consoles, but PCs can also be used for a limitless number and type of applications--for purposes of all kinds. Consoles, while costing less, for certain, also do much less, as well. Consoles are gaming devices--cheap gaming devices--restricted to more expensive gaming software and very limited compared to a desktop PC in their upgradable options, etc. I only bring this up because there are still those odd persons here and there who believe that PCs are fast fading away...;) I've heard that for better than 20 years, and never once has it been true in all of that time! If one counts the DIY PC population--of which I am a member and have been since 1995, when I bought my last OEM pre-built, it won't be long until PCs are hitting their 400M a year numbers again, I'm sure.

    Most "PC" sales numbers traditionally include laptops--because they are PCs, too--mobile PCs. Surprising to see that these numbers are strictly desktops...?

    Why would people trade off a much more upgradable, much more flexible, open-ended computing device capable of running tens of thousands of games and applications on multiple operating system for devices that are inherently far more limited in function and thus far less useful? It doesn't make sense to me that they would. And obviously they haven't. Cell phones and gaming consoles have their uses, for certain, but not a one of them comes close to replacing my desktop PC at home.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    waltc3 said:
    It's amazing, but there are still some people who cannot wrap their heads around how many PCs are sold each year--it dwarfs the number of consoles sold, for instance. Always has. There's simply no numerical comparison to be made. PCs are open-ended computing devices that not only can run the latest games with available hardware that is a multiple of Xs faster/better/newer than what comes in consoles, but PCs can also be used for a limitless number and type of applications--for purposes of all kinds.
    The bulk of PCs get sold to corporations, schools, governments and other similar clients by the hundreds per order. They will never be gamed on in any meaningful capacity and most won't get opened even once for cleaning under their first ownership.
    Reply