Fourth Industrial Revolution

4 charts that explain the decline of the PC

Old unused computers and monitors sit in the main hall of the Shanghai Stock Exchange August 18, 2009. China's stock market showed signs of stability on Tuesday morning after tumbling 5.8 percent on Monday, its biggest daily percentage drop in nine months, hit mainly by profit-taking after a 90-percent stock market rally earlier this year got far ahead of China's economic recovery. REUTERS/Nir Elias

Image: REUTERS/Nir Elias

Joe Myers
Writer, Forum Agenda
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Intel has announced it will lay off one in 10 of its workers as a direct result of the declining PC market. This amounts to 12,000 employees by mid-2017 as the company shifts away from the declining PC market towards the cloud and connected devices.

“It’s about driving long-term change to further establish Intel as the leader for the smart, connected world,” explained Intel CEO Brian Krzanich in an email to staff.

So what has happened to the PC market?

The rise and fall of the PC

As this chart from Statista outlines, the market has been shrinking since early 2012. Although 60 million PCs were sold in the first quarter of this year, that’s a decline of nearly 10% compared to the same quarter last year.

 Worldwide PC market shrinking further
Image: Statista

Gartner, the market researcher behind the data, explained there are several potential factors behind the decline.

“PCs are not being adopted in new households as they were in the past, especially in emerging markets. In these markets, smartphones are the priority.”

The rise of the smartphone

 Global smartphone shipments forecast
Image: BI Intelligence

Smartphone sales have exploded around the world since 2006. From lowly beginnings, this chart from Business Insider highlights the rise to shipments exceeding 1.5 billion last year.

Emerging-market sales have represented the majority of global sales since 2012.

 Global smartphone sales 2008-2013
Image: Credit Suisse Group

Tablets have also played a significant role in the move away from PCs.

The tale of the tablet

 Shipment forecast of tablets, laptops and desktops PCs worldwide from 2010 to 2019 (in million units)
Image: Statista

This chart gives an insight into the decline in PC sales relative to the rise in tablets. The market for tablets in 2010 was just 5% of units shipped. However, by 2014 tablets accounted for over 40% of the total market.

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