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AI-enablement characterises new round of refresh cycles for Higher Education PC market

A new report from Futuresource Consulting has uncovered many growth drivers emerging within the higher education market. With most institutions conducting teaching and learning on campus premises and many refresh cycles being mapped out, device shipments should receive a boost in the medium-term. 

“Across the 20 countries surveyed in the report, the higher education PC market achieved total institutional mobile PC and desktop device shipments of over 21 million units during 2023,” says Iryna Kazanchuk, Lead Analyst, Futuresource Consulting. “This is a minimal 0.3% decline over volumes delivered in 2022. Mobile devices continued to dominate shipment activity during 2023, accounting for 70% of total PC demand.” 

Transition to Windows 11 to drive shipment activity for higher education PCs 

With support for Windows 10 coming to an end in October 2025, institutions are making device refresh plans to accommodate. The market will receive a further boost as the notebooks purchased during the pandemic reach the end of their life cycles in 2024 and 2025. The adoption of PCs with integrated AI capability will be another driver of device shipments, although this may be attributed to replacement rather than increased purchases.  

Transformation projects and future IT investments 

“Esports is destined for even more growth. Nearly half of the institutions surveyed are planning future purchases of esports devices, whether on a shared basis or specifically designated for esports,” says Kazanchuk. “This is creating a strong opportunity for esports device OEMs and resellers. Alongside timely refresh cycles and the advancement of AI driving investments, we’re seeing a lot of positivity for the higher education PC market.” 

Alternative sources of funding are high on the agenda  

Despite several factors helping to bump up the market, the public vs. private funding debate remains rife across the sector. Governments across most territories are trying to balance shrinking budgets while needing to invest in future-proofed skills for students. Subsequently, higher education institutions are expected to collaborate more frequently with industry giants, as they increasingly look outward for funding.  

High-powered devices lead procurement focus 

Higher-powered devices remain the focus of device procurement, with lower-spec devices mostly used by administrative and library staff. High-powered devices such as desktop and notebook workstations are mostly finding their home in computer labs. 

The Higher Education Tracker report from Futuresource Consulting examines trends and forecasts in the market for institutional purchases of mobile PCs and desktops. The report also focuses on detailed feedback from institutions on their preferences for device procurement, IT budgets and investments, device replacement cycles, sustainability, cybersecurity, and device applications on campus. 

For more information on this report or to make a purchase, please contact Fiona McGill at 


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Iryna Kazanchuk

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