Global shipments of gaming desktops, notebooks, and monitors reached 10.4 million units in the second quarter of 2019 (2Q19), up 16.5% year over year, according to the International Data Corp. (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Gaming Tracker. A combination of better comparisons against an abysmal 2018, easing CPU shortages, and improved GPU inventory helped the overall market achieve growth.
Gaming notebooks continued to hold the largest share of the gaming device market in 2Q19 and grew 12.7% year over year, boosted by the launch of models that support ray tracing along a wide spectrum of price points. Gaming desktops, which saw a string of tough quarters from 2018 through the first quarter of 2019, finally recovered with shipments growing 3.3% year over year due to an improved supply of Intel CPUs, an easing of previously excessive GPU inventory, and a revamped pricing structure for ray tracing-capable GPUs. Fears of additional price hikes due to Chinese import tariffs also played a role, boosting overall device shipments in the U.S. Finally, demand for gaming monitors remained strong, posting a record high quarter in volume and continuing to outpace the other two categories in terms of year-over-year growth.
“Even as the second quarter saw a general reprieve for gaming desktops, the decline of gaming desktops in emerging markets, particularly in China, is concerning for vendors and signals the larger trend of moving toward more mobile form factors that can still get the job done,” said Jay Chou, research manager for IDC’s Personal Computing Device Tracker. “Gaming notebooks increasingly bring that value proposition of portability while also narrowing the performance gap against desktops.”
Beyond the current quarter, IDC anticipates the market for gaming desktops, notebooks, and monitors will grow 9.6% for the full year of 2019, reaching 42.8 million units. Compared to the previous forecast, IDC has increased its short-term outlook but lowered the long-term forecast for desktop and notebooks while increasing the outlook for gaming monitors. Continued investment in hardware and an increasingly pervasive and accessible gaming ecosystem are expected to help to sustain steady, if modest gaming device adoption, resulting in an expected 55.2 million units by the end of 2023.
Gaming notebooks are expected to still take the lion’s share of volume and revenue with the form factor seeing strong innovations in thinner dimensions and performance. Further entrants in the entry and mid-level notebook space will also bring intense competition. While desktops will remain the most powerful gaming device, cannibalization from its notebook sibling has led IDC to revise its outlook for this category. Continued developments in other areas such as mobile gaming can also distract spending and prolong life cycles while emerging usage models like cloud gaming could expand the gamer base while potentially challenging non-premium systems in the mid to long term.