Gaming PCs have esports to thank for increasing sales in North America

eSports arena
Jakob Wells/Flickr

Regardless of whether gamers prefer a PC or console experience, there is no doubt that PCs can offer the best graphics and performance. Still, consoles have largely controlled the market due to their affordable, mainstream nature. Despite claims that the PC market is declining, it actually looks to be on the rise in North America.

According to Kevin Jones, vice president of the U.S.-based electronic chain Micro Center, overall sales of gaming PCs have increased 25 to 30 percent in 2016. Even at Micro Center, sales have grown 200 to 300 percent from one year ago.

While speaking with Digitimes, Jones attributes the increasing gaming PC sales to esports. Just five years ago, he referred to PC gaming as a niche market. Now, with esports’ rapid growth in popularity, the market has become more mainstream. Mid-range prices have also lowered the entry price for those looking to get their toes wet.

Even though analyst firm Gartner reported declining PC sales for eight quarters in a row, gaming laptops and desktops tell a much different story. Gaming PC sales are expected to rise from 2015’s 6 million units. By 2020, they should reach 8.7 million units and account for 13 percent of consumer PC shipments.

In North America, retail has been going through a metamorphosis. Many small PC retailers have closed due to the competition. Yet, thanks to its partnerships with brand vendors, Micro Center has thrived with its 25 stores across 16 states. With new customers, sales have reached $60 million per year.

One threat that lies on the horizon are the PC component shortages plaguing the industry right now. While they have yet to affect prices in any major way, Jones believes prices will begin rising in the near future. Anyone looking to build a new PC might want to move up their timeline to avoid a more expensive market.