Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes has slashed his outlook for PC sales and believes that demand for PCs could be on the decline for many years to come. This is something most already see happening, but he goes on and puts some hard numbers behind his predictions. Ben Reitzes speaking on behalf of Barclays went on to say, “We are lowering our 2012-2016 PC forecasts due to weak macro conditions, confusion around Windows 8, ongoing cannibalization from tablets, and an elongation in replacement cycles,” Reitzes writes in a research note. He now sees 2012 PC unit growth down down 3% from a year ago; his previous forecast was for flat units. For Q4, he now sees a 6% year-over-year decline; his previous outlook was down 1%. The new forecast suggests 2% sequential growth; below the previous five-year average of 5% sequential growth. Ouch! He also sees a slowing PC replacement cycle, “with analysis pointing toward a 1-2 year extension in the replacement rate from 2010-2015 due to income diverted to ‘disruptive’ mobile products like tablets and smart phones across the globe.”

Ben Reitzes

For 2013 he’s now looking for units to drop another 4%; his previous projection was for a 1% drop “as the consumer market remains weak and the tablet and smartphone markets continue to cannibalize the PC market; the iPad mini, new iPad and the iPhone 5 could continue to take wallet share.”