The popularity of tablets and the availability of cheaper devices in this range is slowly affecting sales of PCs across the world. Meanwhile, adoption of Windows 8 devices continues to be sluggish.
Gartner’s preliminary report for worldwide PC shipments for the fourth quarter of 2012 shows a 4.9 percent decline in shipments from the fourth quarter of 2011. The results are similar to International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, which recorded a 6.4 per cent fall for the same period.
While PC shipments have been declining for a few quarters now, what is significant is that the decline is now being attributed to factors beyond a poor economy.
“Tablets have dramatically changed the device landscape for PCs, not so much by ‘cannibalizing’ PC sales, but by causing PC users to shift consumption to tablets rather than replacing older PCs,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, in a press release.
He predicted that most individuals will shift consumption activity to a personal tablet, and perform creative and administrative tasks on a shared PC. “There will be some individuals who retain both, but we believe they will be the exception and not the norm. Therefore, we hypothesize that buyers will not replace secondary PCs in the household, instead allowing them to age out and shifting consumption to a tablet.”
Coupled with the shift towards tablets is the fact that Windows 8 has not really boosted PC sales as expected. Last week, Jay Chou, senior research analyst with IDC, had said that despite the third quarter being focused on the clearing of Windows 7 inventory, preliminary research indicates the clearance did not significantly boost the uptake of Windows 8 systems in Q4.
“Lost in the shuffle to promote a touch-centric PC, vendors have not forcefully stressed other features that promote a more secure, reliable and efficient user experience. As Windows 8 matures, and other corresponding variables such as Ultra-book pricing continue to drop, hopefully the PC market can see a reset in both messaging and demand in 2013,” said Chou.
Worryingly, the decline has come despite the holiday season, which usually sees an increase in demand for PCs and other tech products. PCs were no longer the number one gifting option, a position now taken by the tablet and Smartphone.
Kitagawa, however, saw a positive in the fact that only PCs with lighter configurations were feeling the heat from tablets. “We should see an increase in PC average selling prices (ASPs) as users replace machines used for richer applications, rather than for consumption,” he added.
According to Gartner, HP regained the top position in worldwide PC shipments as it was successful in managing large retail deals targeting Microsoft’s Windows 8 launch, as well as holiday sales in selected regions. Lenovo dropped to the No. 2 position, but experienced the best growth rate (8.2 percent) among the top five PC vendors worldwide, said the Gartner report. IDC had earlier released similar figures. (via – businesstoday.intoday.in, Nandagopal Rajan)