back to article The monitor boom may have ended, says IDC

For the first time since the global pandemic began, the PC monitor market has shown a year-on-year decline, according to analyst firm International Data Corporation (IDC) last week. The 7.2 percent year-on-year decline in Q3 2021 resulted in a little over 34.8 million units making their way out of factories. The decline …

  1. Notas Badoff

    Blue Christmas

    Wait, what? *Now* you tell me I should have ordered a new bigger monitor for Christmas? I figured everything 'd be priced out of reach still!

    Hmmm, oh well, I suppose that'll make for a happy new year, even if not a Happy New Year.

    1. Adelio

      Re: Blue Christmas

      i have been running dual 24" monitors at home for years so no change for me.

      1. DJV Silver badge

        Re: Blue Christmas

        I've been running dual monitors on both my PCs for years until a couple of weeks ago when one of my cats managed to jump on top of one monitor and kick it over so that its face hit the mouse. On first inspection there didn't even appear to be a scratch on the monitor's screen surface. Then I turned it on and discovered that, beneath the surface, the LED part of the screen had shattered!

        1. dave 81

          Re: Blue Christmas

          Been running dual monitors since windows 98 supported it. Sometimes more.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Blue Christmas

            >Been running dual monitors since windows 98 supported it.

            Perhaps it's time to replace those 17" CRT's...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Blue Christmas

          Absent cats (or toddlers) monitors can last for many years longer than the PCs that drive them.

          The last significant development was 4k and it's been around for years.

          So once you've got 2 4k monitors there's no reason to upgrade for a long time (unless you're a gamer seeking 8k which is a much smaller market).

          1. Alex Stuart

            Re: Blue Christmas

            There's more to it than resolution - refresh rates have got higher, panel technology better (so more colour coverage, contrast etc) and also Freesync/G-Sync for gamers.

            But I wouldn't disagree with a general sentiment of stalling development, at least compared to TVs, where we've seen LCD get better at HDR, and OLED get cheaper and better over the past few years.

            I assume a main reason for lack of OLED in the monitor market is the burn-in issue which PC use would definitely trigger vs video/consoles.

            1. Dr. Ellen

              Re: Blue Christmas

              As I type this on my computer, I am looking at a pretty decent monitor. When I click a few buttons on the remote, I am looking at a television. The only fly in the ointment is poor speakers. It has other tricks I have not explored, and it's about as large as my desk can accommodate. Why should I buy something else?

          2. Kinetic

            Re: Blue Christmas

            Says the person who clearly hasn't tried a super-ultrawide. Everyone in IT who's seen mine has ended up buying one. Sold 5 so far.

            Seriously, get a good 5120x1440 100hz+ single display, and say goodby to clunky seams in the middle of your field of view. It's amazing.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Blue Christmas

              try 2 x 1440p (2560x1440) in landscape + 1 1440p in portrait for 6560 x 1440 (or 2560 on one side of the desktop for logs).

          3. Tom 38

            Re: Blue Christmas

            My big WFH upgrade was a single 4k monitor, but 43". Its like having 4 x regular sized monitors in one, and my laptop can drive it, another external 1080p screen and the internal display no problem, so its like having 6 regular screens.

            Weirdly, I got this at the start of lockdown in 2020 for £380, its a proper iiyama monitor - just IPS, I'm not gaming on it - but now there doesn't seem to be anything in this style anymore. I think if you want something like that, its got to be a TV now.

            Its a real pain when I go back to the office and its just a single external 1080p screen and the laptop, I'm used to my vast amounts of data on screen now.

            1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

              Re: Blue Christmas

              Never knew iiyama did those types of monitors, got 2 x 27" iiyama's myself.

              Do you not find yourself looking up to high though for the top screen (As my only concern would be I've always bitched at staff having them set to low or high)?

        3. mjflory

          Re: Blue Christmas

          I'm sorry to hear it... but I must say you have a very clever cat, probably the first one to kill a mouse using electronics!

          1. Marcelo Rodrigues

            Re: Blue Christmas

            "I'm sorry to hear it... but I must say you have a very clever cat, probably the first one to kill a mouse using electronics!"

            So, THAT is what they mean with "electronic warfare..."

            1. Clausewitz 4.0

              Re: Blue Christmas

              So, THAT is what they mean with "electronic warfare..."

              Just wait for the blowback.. If prices are not ok.. It won't be pretty... I can assure you..

      2. Korev Silver badge

        Re: Blue Christmas

        i have been running dual 24" monitors at home for years so no change for me.

        I did until last year when I upgraded to a 32" 4K Dell monitor and I haven't looked back.

        1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

          Re: I haven't looked back.

          until you get to a certain age and you need bigger text.

          You have to downgrade the resolution to 2k just to see the small print.

          OTOH, two 24in monitors rotated 90deg gives you a great display for working (and not gaming which not all of us do)

      3. Tom 7

        Re: Blue Christmas

        Got a scratched 40" HD TV for 50p! The scratch is not visible when its on and it does 1024*768 beautifully. Only problem is its best viewed from about 6' which is great for the eyes but it does take up a lot of real estate and the missus wont let me put the 4hd TV up with it partly because that would need another dining table! I will take it out to the man shed to experiment with dual monitoring with a smaller closer monitor as I've go an itch to dig out some old php web programming stuff which has suddenly become relevant.

  2. Alan_Peery

    Portrait mode monitors

    I'm running three screens -- laptop on a tilted stand, 4k monitor in normal landscape, and the old 1680x1050 monitor in portrait mode. The portrait mode is a very handy option, as some data is just better laid out that way.

  3. Terje


    What impressive monitor do you get for 300?

    I'm currently working on persuading myself that I need another LG 27GN950 (that in my opinion is an impressive monitor) to replace my old 1440p second monitor so that I for the first time will have two identical matching ones!

    1. Spanners Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Impressive???

      What impressive monitor do you get for 300?

      Amazon has some nice ones in that area.

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: Impressive???

        Most of the ones I've seen are just some variant of 1080p - either re-cased 1920x1080p panels, or absurd aspect ratios with a bajillion horizontal pixels but still the same 1080 vertical that I had on my first LCD monitor in about 2002. To get usable vertical resolution - ie, usable for more than watching Youtube - $500-600 seems to still be the ballpark.

        I'm currently rocking a 3440x1440 Acer X34, which I have to say is a good monitor, except for the fact that it really doesn't play nicely with my crappy AMD graphics (craphics?) card, and will lose sync just about every time the screen resolution changes. Doesn't have any problems at all with the Intel graphics on my other PC, so.. *shrug*

    2. nintendoeats Silver badge

      Re: Impressive???

      I gotta tell you man, after years of running three different monitors I was finally able get all 3 the same...and it was as awesome as you think it is :p

      And now that I've done that, I hardly intend to replace $1000 worth of monitor on a 2 year cycle :/

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Impressive???

        I started out as a field engineer when 14" CRTs where still on many desks, and even back then it's wasn't unusual for PCs to be upgraded and not the screens. Likewise, it's not that long ago I was still seeing 14/"15" LCD screens on desks, albeit often in pairs. One customer I deal with just upgraded from pairs of 17" screens to some humongously wide curved screens. I suspect they will be there through at least the next two or three PC refreshes.

        1. nintendoeats Silver badge

          Re: Impressive???

          I well remember these days, even though I was a youngun. Screen technology struggles to improve as rapidly as PC technology (which also frankly isn't moving as fast as it used to). If you want to save some money, buying a good monitor to start with and not worrying about upgrading is an easy way to do so.

          1. nintendoeats Silver badge

            Re: Impressive???


            A couple weeks ago I replaced my top-end 2007 Sony XBR2 television with a top-end 2021 Sony A90J.

            Yes, the new TV is clearly superior in all areas (except in brightness and burn-in concerns, because OLED) and I am happy for the upgrade. But is it 13 years better? Probably not...certainly not in the same way that my 6800XT is superior to a 2007 GeForce 8800 Ultra, or a Ryzen 5000 is superior to a Core 2.

            Those PC upgrade examples are comical, the old parts would now be considered effectively unusable for anything (power and heat concerns basically invalidate them for any use they would still be capable of). OTOH, this change between TVs for me has merely been "a nice improvement". And the old XBR? Going to a recent grad, who will undoubtedly get many more years of high quality, trouble free service out of it.

  4. elsergiovolador Silver badge


    Monitor manufacturer usually won't show where the monitor was made. Often you will also find that maybe monitor was assembled outside of China, but e.g. the panel and majority of components are actually Chinese.

    Problem is that you rather won't find that out unless you disassemble the monitor and look up the part numbers. At that point you likely won't be able to return the device.

    So what's the solution?

    If you don't want to fuel the communist party, then only way for now is to buy used.

    1. David Nash Silver badge

      Re: Minefield

      You only implied that you are trying to avoid Chinese-made goods but assuming that is indeed what you meant, you're out of luck if you think you can live a normal life without buying anything made in China.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Minefield

        It's possible, but I don't think there are enough caves for everyone :-)

      2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Minefield

        So you just give up then? How much Hukou points you got?

  5. Adrian 4

    year on year

    Year on year growth sounds like it should need at least 2 years to justify, not just 4 quarters

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: year on year

      And next year, because of the way stock markets work, watch the "tech crash" as all the tech companies making hay for two years of WFH all see sales drops instead of growth because, as per the article, the peak has passed and now it's just "normal" refreshes. It doesn't even matter if sales are better than two years ago, all "the market" will see is a drop from the artificially induced sharp rises of the last two years.

    2. W.S.Gosset

      Re: year on year

      Standard financial term. The alternatives are generally monthly/quarterly/annual being straight growth between 2 sequential periods ; yoy which is this subperiod compared with the same subperiod last year (eg Q3 2021 / Q3 2020) which controls for seasonality so is usually preferred ; or CAGR cumulative annual growth rate over a few years which is what you're thinking of : total growth averaged/annualised to an equivalent annual rate (take the Tth root / raise to the power of 1/T).

  6. Mr. Flibble

    “We believe the changes wrought by the permanency of hybrid work and flexible learning will enable faster refresh rates across all user segments,” said Chou.

    Great news! How many Hz are we talking about???

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      I thought Hz only did rentals, not sales.

      1. Stork Silver badge

        You are wrong. At least here in Portugal they have a site for it, hertzusados or something like that.

        An important part of car rental finances is sale of cars when they get too old for rental

        1. David 132 Silver badge

          An important part of car rental finances is sale of cars when they get too old for rental

          Yeah but at what frequency does that ever happen?

    2. Korev Silver badge

      That pun really Hertz

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I use a 55" 8K TV as a monitor via HDMI and its surprisingly good. I've given the old 32" 'proper' monitor to my eldest son.

  8. Old Used Programmer

    Monitors last...

    I'm still using the last monitor I bought new many years ago... A Viewsonic VA2702w. 27" 1920x1080. Works fine, no need to replace it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Monitors last...

      My friends' daughter needed a monitor in a hurry for WFH at the start of lockdown. So I gave her my 24" IPS 1920x1080 used for general viewing with my laptop. My big PC doesn't get used much these days - so moved one of its pair of Samsung 26" 1920x1200 to the laptop. The extra depth is much nicer - especially as my bilateral cataracts now appear to be slipping down the NHS queues.

  9. Scott Pedigo

    WFH Spoiled Me With A Larger Monitor Than At Work

    At work I have a standard sized monitor, I think 24". Eventually we'll all get 2 monitors.

    At home I'm using a 40" 4K Samsung TV as a second screen connected to my 13" work laptop.

    The TV has multiple HDMI ports, so I also connected my own 17" laptop and can switch inputs using the remote.

    Note: a standard HDMI cable didn't work reliably -- I had periodic blackouts of the screen.

    A purchase of a premium HDMI cable rated for 4K bandwidth solved that issue.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



    You can

    A) work in a tumbleweed office, without any of your team onsite, with your laptop screen and a single clapped out monitor without a HDMI port, ON A DOUBLE MONITOR ARM...


    B) work at home with laptop, portrait and landscape monitors with a choice of modern interfaces, on a double arm.

    A. Wait, I know this...

  11. LordHighFixer

    Is it wrong

    That I have 12 identical monitors, on arms, and another 4 "close to identical" also on arms?

    Ya, I won't be upgrading until I buy new video cards. All 6 are in need of an upgrade, but I can wait a bit on those as well. (nvidia 980 class).

    1. Scott Pedigo

      Re: Is it wrong

      >> That I have 12 identical monitors on arms, and another 4 "close to identical" also on arms?

      You wouldn't happen to be El Reg Mission Control would you?

      I haven't heard what happened to any Lego astronaut in a while.

  12. Lucy in the Sky (with Diamonds)

    Monitors are overpriced

    Since August I have two 55" 4K TVs on my desk as displays, powered by a PC each. I have only ever had dual monitors at work, at home it is nicer to have a single computer for every screen.

    Realistically, they do not make desks that fit anything bigger, and I am uncertain about replacing my desk with a dining room table...

    Although, then I could fit a third computer and screen, and once again play two player network games with the middle one showing videos for distractions...

    Sure, purpose made monitors are probably higher quality, but luckily for me, I can not tell the difference, so El Cheapo TVs are perfectly okay with me to watch computers on...

    1. Down not across

      Re: Monitors are overpriced

      I needed to replace a 22" monitor and ideally wanted something bit larger, and likewise ended up getting a 27" curved TV (the desk it went on didn't really accomodate anything larger) at probably less than half the price of equivalent monitor. Picture via HDMI is perfectly fine. The only annoyance is the energy saving "press a button or the tv will turn off" every so often.

    2. Sir Awesome

      Re: Monitors are overpriced

      At least 6 years ago I bought a set of three AOC 24" monitors at ~£100 each - I'm looking into replacing one of them, and they still cost £100.

      I thought the cost of these things were supposed to go down over time?

  13. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    bah humbug

    pfft !

    bunch of obsessive hardware freaks

    I have 2x 27" at 1080p


    all that other bullshit is just showing off!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: bah humbug

      A 1200 depth is useful as many things are designed to fill 1080. However 1920x1200 monitors became scarce when 1920x1080 became a consumer TV driver.

  14. W.S.Gosset
    Thumb Up

    Thank you, Laura!


    > Shipments of models aimed at consumers shrank an average of 12 per cent.

    I had to read that 3 times before what was weird about it finally registered.

    I think you're about the first journo I've seen in maybe a year who's been able to use the past tense correctly on a i/a/u verb! You little ripper!

    'Course, now it's bugging me that I can't remember the proper term for those verbs.... :)

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: Thank you, Laura!

      I believe the term used should have been "shrunked", but I'm not going to loose my temper over one rouge word...

      (Note icon before descending into spittle-flecked rage--->)

      1. W.S.Gosset

        Re: Thank you, Laura!

        Imma gonna go wit' "shronk". No tents -- Juan sighs Fitts' awl.

  15. jaffy2

    Still waiting for the monitors I ordered in June 21

    Dell tell me there's a glass shortage for 34 Curved displays. Ordered 5 in June for delivery in October. In October they were pushed back to May 22!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Still waiting for the monitors I ordered in June 21

      I ordered a budget wooden garden shed in August 2020 - it was finally delivered at Easter 2021.

  16. Shuki26

    What is missing is the comparison to growth or decline from pre-Covid

    Obviously there was growth during Covid with monitors, webcams, and other accessories and peripherals. Many people even had to buy printers since they could not longer exploit the nice one at the office.

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