Logic supposes that as the pandemic put so many people on lockdown, certain market segments surged, including PC and console gaming. And that is undoubtedly true. However, analysts at IDC say "the gaming market was on fire for years" before the pandemic began, and as it applies to the PC platform, they anticipate the surge in gaming desktop, laptop, and even monitor sales to continue through at least the next several years.
As things stand right now, global shipments of PCs and monitors purpose built for gaming are growing faster than their respective markets as a whole. Including both desktops and laptops, IDC expects gaming PC shipments to grow from 41.3 million in 2020 to 52.3 million in 2025, which would represent an annual compound growth rate (CAGR) of 4.8%.
Meanwhile, analysts at IDC anticipate gaming monitors going from 14.2 million units shipped to 26.4 million units in the same chunk of years, for an even bigger CAGR of 13.2%.
Perhaps this is the kind of outlook that lead Corsair to announce its first-ever gaming monitor, the Xeneon (opens in new tab), a 32-inch quantum dot display with a 2560x1440 resolution and 165Hz refresh rate. And in line with IDC's pre-pandemic observation, we saw NZXT get into the business of selling custom gaming PCs in 2017 with its BLD (opens in new tab) platform. New boutiques continue to pop up as well, like Meta PC (opens in new tab), which came into existence last year.
Part of what's interesting about this is that it is happening amid a global shortage of silicon. This has contributed to what we called the tragic state of PC building in 2021 (opens in new tab), amid the nearly always out-of-stock status of gaming hardware like graphics cards (and dedicated consoles), and at times, some high end CPUs and even power power supplies.
"At this point the global supply shortage is well known and continues to be a moving target, yet demand for gaming hardware (PCs, consoles, monitors, etc.) and titles continues to surge," said Ryan Reith (opens in new tab), an analyst at IDC. "Many have speculated that as reopening slowly begins around the world this growth could be in jeopardy, but we are just not seeing that."
In terms of dollar values, gaming PCs and monitors combined into a $43 billion market in 2020, and is expected to jump to $60 billion in 2025, for a CAGR of 7%.
IDC also expects the average selling price of a gaming PC to go up a bit, from $925 to $1,007, which isn't too bad when you're talking about a four-year span. Monitors, however, will remain about the same, or even become a tad cheaper, with the ASP predicted to drop from $339 last year to $309 in 2025.
We'll see—IDC may not be taking into account technologies like OLED and mini LED trickling into the PC monitor space, and maybe even micro LED (opens in new tab) by then, which are even smaller and could rival OLED in picture quality without the potential downside of burn-in.
Regardless, this boils down to yet more affirmation that PC gaming is alive and thriving, and will remain that way for the foreseeable future.