Peak oil is the point in time at which the maximum rate of crude oil extraction is reached. After we reach that point, the production of oil will gradually decline until the reserves are either depleted or it is no longer cost efficient to extract any further oil. Thankfully, the world hasn’t reached that point yet — oil production is still on the rise — but we may have passed another peak: “Peak PC”.
The term “Peak PC”, coined in reference to the aforementioned concept of peak oil, describes the point in time at which the PC industry started its decline. As a matter of fact, we may have passed that point five years ago, in the third quarter of 2011, when global PC shipments reached their historical high of 95.4 million units. Since then, global demand has gradually declined as smartphones and tablets have taken over many of the tasks we used to rely on PCs for.
To be clear, it is highly unlikely that PCs will become an endangered species anytime soon, particularly in professional use, but it seems fair to assume that the PC industry won’t be able to climb back to previous heights anytime soon, if ever.
This chart shows global PC shipments since 2008.