PC sales expected to fall after Windows 10 sales bump ends

5G phones to reach almost 50 per cent of smartphone market in two years

Credit: Dreamstime

Although analyst firms recently predicted that PC sales for 2019 would show the first signs of growth in nearly a decade, Gartner has thrown cold water on those findings: After the Windows 7 to Windows 10 migration ends, PC sales will decline once again.

On the other hand, global device sales—PCs, tablets, and smartphones—should continue to grow slightly by 0.9 per cent in 2020, the firm said.

Of note, too, is what Gartner predicts about 5G smartphone penetration: an estimated 12 per cent of smartphone shipments in 2020, growing to 43 per cent in 2022.

Credit: Gartner

For 2020, Gartner predicts that Microsoft will finally hit its goal of one billion PCs sold or installed with Windows 10, a target Microsoft originally thought it would hit in 2017, or at the latest, 2018. That would be about 80 percent of all installed PCs.

In September, Microsoft corporate vice president of Modern Life, Search and Devices Yusuf Mehdi tweeted that Microsoft had reached a total of 900 million installs.

The corporate PC transition from Windows 7, whose support expired last week, to Windows 10, pushed PC sales into positive territory, Gartner said. But without that bump, the firm expects PC sales to fall once again.

There are some wild cards: China, for example, is going through a process of replacing foreign-made PCs with Chinese-made devices. Small businesses that neglected to transition by the deadline may also give PC sales a bump.

“The PC market’s future is unpredictable because there will not be a Windows 11. Instead, Windows 10 will be upgraded systematically through regular updates,” said Ranjit Atwal, a research senior director at Gartner, in a statement. “As a result, peaks in PC hardware upgrade cycles driven by an entire Windows OS upgrade will end.”

About the only category of device that Gartner sees increasing in sales will be premium “ultramobile” PCs, which will make up a small but growing segment of the PC market.

But more mass-market ultramobile (or thin-and-light) PCs will see sales slowly decline over the next few years, too.

In phones, the transition to 5G will help grow the market slightly in 2020 to 1.777 billion phones, Gartner found, as consumers and businesses replace 4G devices. Even then, the firm said, device sales should slowly contract over the next three years. 

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags GartnerPC

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Mark Hachman

Mark Hachman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?