IDC forecast big growth in AI PC shipment: 60 Million in 2024 to 167 Million by 2027

Date: 13/02/2024
Market Researcher IDC forecasts a significant surge in shipments of AI PCs powered by SoC processors to locally handle generative AI tasks. From an estimated 50 million units in 2024, IDC projects shipments to soar to over 167 million by 2027, constituting nearly 60% of global PC shipments.

AI PC MARKET

Data Source: IDC

Evolution of NPU-enabled AI PCs: Traditionally, AI tasks on PCs relied on CPU or GPU, but this often compromised performance and battery life. Now, with the introduction of neural processing units (NPUs) in SoCs, AI-specific silicon is optimizing task execution. IDC identifies three categories of NPU-enabled AI PCs:

Hardware-enabled AI PCs include an NPU that offers <40 tera operations per second (TOPS) performance and typically enables specific AI features within apps to run locally. Qualcomm, Apple, AMD, and Intel are all shipping chips in this category today.

Next-generation AI PCs include an NPU with 4060 TOPS performance and an AI-first operating system (OS) that enables persistent and pervasive AI capabilities in the OS and apps. Qualcomm, AMD, and Intel are all expected to launch future chips for this category, with delivery likely to begin in 2024. Microsoft is also expected to roll out major updates (and updated system specifications) to Windows 11 to take advantage of these high-TOPS NPUs.

Advanced AI PCs are PCs that offer >60 TOPS of NPU performance. While no silicon vendors have announced such products, IDC expects them to appear in the coming years. This IDC forecast does not include advanced AI PCs, but they will be incorporated into future updates.

While hardware-enabled AI PCs will witness rapid adoption, next-generation variants are poised to lead the market by 2027. IDC forecasts shipments of next-generation AI PCs to double that of hardware-enabled ones. These advancements promise significant benefits for consumers, including enhanced PC gaming and digital content creation experiences.

The migration of AI workloads from the cloud to the client offers three primary benefits: performance enhancement by eliminating network round trips, bolstered privacy and security by keeping data on the device, and cost reduction by minimizing reliance on expensive cloud resources.

"As we enter a new year, the hype around generative AI has reached a fever pitch, and the PC industry is running fast to capitalize on the expected benefits of bringing AI capabilities down from the cloud to the client," said Tom Mainelli, group vice president, Devices and Consumer Research. "Promises around enhanced user productivity via faster performance, plus lower inferencing costs, and the benefit of on-device privacy and security, have driven strong IT decision-maker interest in AI PCs. In 2024, we'll see AI PC shipments begin to ramp, and over the next few years, we expect the technology to move from niche to a majority."

Source: IDC