Evolving Usage Models and Tightened Budgets Further Hinder Adoption of Thin Clients, According to IDC

NEEDHAM, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#EnterpriseClientDevices–Faced with an ongoing transition towards alternative devices and challenged budgets, global shipments of thin client devices declined 24% year over year in the fourth quarter of 2022 (4Q22). For the full year 2022, shipment volume shrank 7.9%, marking the third consecutive year that thin client shipments contracted, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Enterprise Client Device Tracker.

While 2022 began on a hopeful note with the reopening of offices and a recovery of shipments during the first two quarters, shipments soon stalled due to economic events in Europe and elsewhere. Additionally, the pandemic-fueled adoption of hybrid work in many mature markets also hurt shipments, leading more users to tilt toward PCs. The ongoing shift in virtual environment access devices has resulted in longer life cycles for thin clients, which tend to be used only at the office.

Over the past year, the evolution of the market has also led to geographic changes. The decline of North American and European thin client spending has elevated Asia/Pacific to be the biggest geographic market for thin clients. Asia/Pacific ended 2022 taking 54% of the overall thin client device market, in contrast to its 2021 share of 49%. Furthermore, for the first time since IDC started covering the industry, Chinese vendor Centerm took the top spot in market share in 4Q22, overtaking longtime stalwarts Dell and HP.

As a result of worsening factors, IDC has revised its forecast for the thin client market to better reflect the continued impact of evolving usage models as well as tightening budgets. 2023 shipments are expected to be flat, leaving the market at around 4.1 million units, while 2024 should see a stronger recovery, coinciding with expected recovery in commercial PCs.

“While the thin client market should rebound in the coming years, we have lowered our forecast due to a even more constrained environment,” said Jay Chou, research manager for IDC’s Worldwide Client Devices Tracker. “For much of this year, businesses are moving an already shrinking budget away from endpoint devices. We remain hopeful that as enterprise PCs migrate toward Windows 11 next year, the thin client market will also benefit, mirroring historical trends of being refreshed along with PCs.”

A graphic illustrating IDC’s forecast for the worldwide enterprise client device shipments and annual growth is available by viewing this press release on IDC.com.

IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Enterprise Client Device Tracker gathers detailed market data in over 30 countries. The research includes historical and forecast trend analysis among other data.

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International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. With more than 1,300 analysts worldwide, IDC offers global, regional, and local expertise on technology, IT benchmarking and sourcing, and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. IDC’s analysis and insight helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based technology decisions and to achieve their key business objectives. Founded in 1964, IDC is a wholly owned subsidiary of International Data Group (IDG), the world’s leading tech media, data, and marketing services company. To learn more about IDC, please visit www.idc.com. Follow IDC on Twitter at @IDC and LinkedIn. Subscribe to the IDC Blog for industry news and insights.

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Jay Chou


Michael Shirer