The conversation about PCs going away has been an ongoing one, and it was recently reignited by two recent reports on the worldwide PC market. Leading Industry Analyst firms reported that the worldwide PC market slowed down at a pace of about 10% in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the first quarter of 2012.

In most of the press coverage that ensued, Windows 8 has been mentioned as a contributor to this trend, but in reality there’s a bigger hidden trend – and one that’s critical for enterprises to understand.  When we split the market out by Consumer PCs vs. Business PCs, we see that the Business PC market is actually growing.  That’s right… the number of PCs used in the business world is actually growing, not shrinking.

The Consumer PC Market

The Consumer PC market is definitely shrinking as family members turn their attention to tablets and smartphones to complement their existing PCs and game consoles. People were buying multiple PCs per family at one point, and this trend has reversed to families buying a single PC plus tablets and smartphones.  Of course this is a tremendous hit for PC manufacturers who garner significant revenues from the Consumer PC market.

The Business PC Market Remains Significant and is Growing

The hidden insight that was overshadowed by the “doom-and-gloom” news about the overall PC market is that there a large and growing Business PC market.  So, both for enterprises that are buying end-user computing devices and for companies that are focused on selling to businesses (like Citrix), it is critical to separate this important market from the top-level noise regarding the health of the overall PC industry.

Indeed, Lenovo sold as many PCs in the quarter as it did a year ago. And overall Business PC sales actually grew in the same quarter of 2013 and are forecast to grow at a rate of about 10% per year for the next few years:

Furthermore, what’s really interesting is not only that the Business PC market is actually steadily growing (vs. the popular belief that it’s shrinking).  The most interesting part is that it’s growing off a huge base!  It’s easy to put up 10, 20 or even 50% growth numbers when a market is new or small, but it’s another thing to show double digit year-over-year growth off a huge base.

Despite all the doom-and-gloom predictions about the PC market, the real facts are that there are nearly 200 million new business PCs sold each year, with projections of growth to over 200 million PCs per year in the next few years.  While the Business PC market is not as “sexy” as other markets, this impressive growth off a massive base cannot be ignored.  Enterprises need to think critically about how they manage those devices and IT solution providers need to deliver innovative products and services for Business PCs.

Citrix is delivering innovative solutions such as XenClient, a part of XenDesktop FlexCast, to address these needs by turning PCs into virtual appliances while preserving end-user benefits like the ability for users to personalize their desktops.  Many companies using XenClient have reduced their PC operations costs by over 70% while increasing the reliability and security of those PCs at the same time.

About XenClient

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