The surprising state of the PC market in two charts

desktopReports of the PC’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Written off after a slow 2013, PCs fought back last year with sales growing 1 percent in the fourth quarter year over year. The 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) offered further optimism, showcasing advances that could breathe new life into PCs, including new hybrid laptop/tablets, curved screens, and ultra-thin laptops with big boosts in battery life. Clearly, PCs aren’t down for the count just yet.

In fact, according to a new SHI poll, they’re far from it. We commissioned an online survey, conducted by Harris Poll in December, of U.S. IT professionals to peek into their 2015 plans for new hardware and devices. We asked what percentage of PCs they plan to replace this year and whether desktops, laptops, tablets, or Chromebooks would be the replacement. Their answers show that PCs might have a longer lease on life than many think.

Here’s what we learned:

  1. IT pros prefer PCs in 2015. Of the 99 percent of IT professionals whose organizations plan to replace at least one computer next year, 82 percent will replace existing desktops or laptops with another desktop or laptop.Percentage of IT Pros Replacing a PC With Another PC Versus Tablet in 2015
  2. IT isn’t replacing desktops with laptops. Some 45 percent of IT professionals plan to replace a desktop with a desktop, while only 12 percent plan to replace a desktop with a laptop.Total Breakdown of Devices IT Pros Will Use to Replace PCs in 2015
  3. Tablets aren’t a PC killer. Only 9 percent of IT professionals said they plan to replace a desktop or laptop with a tablet.
  4. Tablets are more likely a replacement than an add-on. Despite little interest in replacing PCs with tablets, IT pros reported they are even less likely to provide a tablet in addition to a desktop or laptop. Just 7 percent plan to do so in 2015.
  5. Chromebooks appeal to a different crowd. Only 1 percent of IT professionals said they’d be replacing a desktop or laptop with a Chromebook in 2015. The results would likely be different if the poll included IT pros at educational institutions, where Chromebooks are growing in popularity. Sales jumped 67 percent between the second and third quarter last year, and by the third quarter, eclipsed sales of the iPad in the education market.

IT spending will inevitably rise as the economy improves and more Americans return to the workforce. Over the last year, the unemployment rate retreated more than a full percentage point as 1.7 million people returned to work. The companies doing all that hiring need hardware for their new employees. So it’s not surprising that the uptick in employment buoyed the PC market as well.

Which results are most interesting to you? What’s your plan for 2015? Let us know in a comment below.


This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of SHI International from December 10-19, 2014. It was conducted among 306 full-time IT professionals aged 18 and over, who work in a company with 20 or more employees and have at least a major influence on IT decision-making, via its ITDMQuery omnibus product. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact

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2 thoughts on “The surprising state of the PC market in two charts

  1. Larry Timmins says:

    Interestingly, one of the biggest interests seen for desktop replacement is not covered by your survey — and I hope you add it next time because of the well balanced approach you took to looking into what IT organizations are doing.

    Where is the coverage of the additional of virtual desktops and whether IT organizations are looking at replacement and/or additional devices to result in a net loss or no increase in the number software licenses?

    Virtual desktop maturity and deployment recently got better with VMware’s vSphere 6 announcements. After three to four years, VMware finally is internalizing its acquisitions, and moving features into core offerings which prior to Feb 2nd left many people waiting for VMware’s pricing and licensing of virtual desktops to get some synergy and cohesion. This month, their approach to virtual desktops and deploying data center (or private/hybrid cloud) hosted applications has greater appeal. With Microsoft cloud marketing push on cloud-based software and moving its focus outside the IT-based enterprises, licensing every device in Enterprises may result in IT Enterprises with Software Assurance just putting licensed products in virtual desktop pools.

  2. Ed McNamara - SHI Director of Marketing says:

    Hi Larry – thanks for the feedback!

    You bring up some great points about desktop virtualization which we will absolutely revisit in a future post. How virtualized desktops affect the various licensing scenarios of an organization is something our IT Asset Management group helps customers understand every day.

    We’ll pull together the top questions we’re getting on this topic and share best practices for how to best deal with these issues, on this blog, ASAP.

    Thanks for the idea…you will receive full credit, of course!

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