AI PCs are set to surge in popularity in 2024, but vendors might find it hard to differentiate offerings

Concept art image of a central processing unit (CPU) used in high performance AI PCs
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Global shipments of AI PCs are set to surge across 2024 and account for nearly one-quarter of all PCs, according to new analysis from Gartner. 

Research from the consultancy shows that 54.5 million AI PCs will be shipped by the end of the year, accounting for 22% of all devices. Similarly, generative AI smartphones will also surge in popularity across 2024, Gartner said.

The increase in both AI PC and smartphone shipments marks a sharp rise on the year prior. Combined, 295 million AI PC and smartphone units will be distributed by the end of the year, up from just 29 million units in 2023.

Ranjit Atwal, senior director analyst at Gartner, said the heightened interest in AI PCs in recent months means these devices will “eventually become a standard requirement for technology vendors”.

However, Atwal said the scale of AI PC roll-outs by key industry vendors means many will face acute challenges in differentiating product lines.

“This ubiquity will pose challenges for vendors in differentiating themselves from competitors, making it harder to create unique selling points and drive increased revenues.”

Gartner’s research also found that the integration of AI into PCs is not expected to drive end-user spending beyond anticipated price increases, adding that business device purchasers will “demand compelling reasons to invest”.


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“It will take time for software providers to harness the power of on-device AI and clearly demonstrate its enhanced benefits,” the consultancy said.

Crucially, the surge in AI-powered devices comes amid a period of tentative recovery for the global PC industry. The market, which experienced a significant downturn amid curtailed post-pandemic spending, returned to growth in the fourth quarter of 2023.

The rebound followed eight consecutive quarters of decline. Gartner said it expects overall PC shipments to reach 250.4 million units in 2024, marking a 3.5% increase from the year prior.

On-device AI will play a key role in helping to “rejuvenate the marketing of PCs through 2024 and help sustain existing anticipated replacement cycles”, the consultancy noted.

Will AI PCs be a flash in the pan industry fad?

AI PCs have rapidly become the latest industry buzzword, with a host of major device manufacturers, including HP, Dell, and Lenovo, all signaling their intention to ramp up production of AI-supported devices in the last quarter alone. 

In December 2023, Intel chief executive Pat Gelsinger suggested that AI PCs will be the “star of the show” in 2024 amid growing interest from both consumers and enterprises alike.

Gelsinger’s optimism on this front has been matched by other industry execs, with HP chief executive Enrique Lores insisting that the emergence of generative AI will create a "new kind" of PC.

Intel chip used in AI PCs unveiled at the company's AI Everywhere event in December 2023

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There's officially no escape from AI PCs

But beyond the industry hype, analysts are also confident that AI PCs will become an increasingly important piece of kit in the enterprise arsenal moving forward.

Previous research from Canalys aligns closely with that of Gartner, with the consultancy suggesting that these devices could herald a “watershed moment” for the PC industry and “reinvigorate the market” after a record-breaking slump.

Canalys’ study predicted that 19% of all PCs shipped globally in 2024 will be AI capable, and moreover, it expects that 60% of all PCs will be AI capable by 2027.

Ross Kelly
News and Analysis Editor

Ross Kelly is ITPro's News & Analysis Editor, responsible for leading the brand's news output and in-depth reporting on the latest stories from across the business technology landscape. Ross was previously a Staff Writer, during which time he developed a keen interest in cyber security, business leadership, and emerging technologies.

He graduated from Edinburgh Napier University in 2016 with a BA (Hons) in Journalism, and joined ITPro in 2022 after four years working in technology conference research.

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