AI integration, device upgrades to drive a rebound in PC sales in 2024

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Apple Inc. MacBook Pro and Air laptops at the new Apple Inc. store inside the Starfield mall during its opening in Hanam, South Korea, on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023.

SeongJoon Cho | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The slump in personal computer sales is likely to end next year as consumers appear set to buy newer PCs, with demand for devices equipped with artificial intelligence features further boosting the market, according to analysts.

“At the end of a difficult year for the PC market, there is finally reason for optimism. Canalys expects the PC market to return to growth of 8% in 2024 as customers look to refresh the PCs of the pandemic era and new AI-capable devices emerge,” said analysts Ben Caddy and Kieren Jessop in a Dec. 20 report.

Microsoft ending support for its Windows 10 operating system on Oct. 14, 2025, in line with its normal 10-year support lifecycle “could prevent hundreds of millions of devices from getting second lives,” Canalys said, which will further drive sales of newer PCs.

“The vast and aging installed base of commercial PCs surpassing the four-year mark by 2024 is expected to necessitate a refresh, coinciding with the pressing demand to migrate toward Windows 11,” according to market intelligence firm IDC. It expects the PC market could grow 3.4% next year from 2023.

IDC data revealed that 2020 saw the highest growth in global PC sales since 2010, catalyzed by the pandemic-induced shift to remote work and learning.

Global PC shipments stood at 68.5 million units in the third quarter of 2023, representing a 7.2% drop in volumes compared with the same quarter in 2022, IDC data showed.

Shipments have seen consecutive quarterly declines since the start of 2022, brought on by macroeconomic headwinds, weak retail and commercial demand, and a shift in IT budgets away from device purchases.

The integration of AI capabilities into PCs is expected to serve as a catalyst for upgrades, hitting shelves in 2024.

The boom in generative artificial intelligence could boost PC sales as consumers actively look to integrate AI features that enhance productivity and leisure experiences, Canalys said.

The firm predicts that 60% of the PCs shipped in 2027 will be AI-capable. “PCs, which are central to modern work and life, are now set to evolve in both software and hardware domains to keep pace with this trend.”

HP CEO Enrique Lores told CNBC last month that the firm’s new computers with AI capabilities will help accelerate the PC market’s growth.

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“This is going to double the growth of the PC category starting next year,” Lores said.

While at first the AI-integrated PCs will be aimed toward specific segments of the enterprise market, but with cost reductions and more use cases they could find their way to a broader market, IDC analysts said.

“The integration of AI capabilities into PCs is expected to serve as a catalyst for upgrades, hitting shelves in 2024,” they added.

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