Gartner is now forecasting that shipments of traditional PCs will decline by a double digit percentage as consumers increasingly opt for tablets.
Gartner said the tablet and
smartphone markets are also facing challenges the devices attain longer
life cycles. There has also been a shift as many consumers go from
premium tablets like the iPad 4 to "basic" tablets, according to
The market share of basic tablets is expected to
increase faster than anticipated, Gartner said. Sales of the iPad
mini—the smaller, scaled down, less expensive version of the iPad
introduced last year—already represented 60 percent of overall iOS
tablet sales in the first quarter of 2013, Gartner said.
increased availability of lower priced basic tablets, plus the value add
shifting to software rather than hardware will result in the lifetimes
of premium tablets extending as they remain active in the household for
longer," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner. "We will also
see consumer preferences split between basic tablets and ultramobile
Atwal said Gartner has decreased its forecast for
mobile phone shipments this year due to increased device life cycles and
the fact that consumers are tending to wait delay purchases in
expectation of new models and lower prices expected to hit the market in
the fall and during the holiday season.
"The challenge in the
smartphone market is also that, as penetration moves more and more to
the mass market, price points are lowering and in most cases so do
margins," Atwal said.
"Although the numbers seem to paint a
clear picture of who the winner will be when it comes to operating
systems in the device market, the reality is that today ecosystem owners
are challenged in having the same relevance in all segments," Milanesi
"Apple is currently the more homogeneous presence across
all device segments, while 90 percent of Android sales are currently in
the mobile phone market and 85 percent of Microsoft sales are in the PC
market," Milanesi said.
Pcs are producers and tablets are consumers of information. The consumers are just entering a growth phase. As more consumers become available the producers will then see a growth phase. Watch for pcs to become more capable as producers of content and more targeted for the type of information produced.
"The revised Gartner forecast for PC shipments is another nail in the coffin of the traditional desktop and notebook PC."
Such hyperbole obscures the real points. Bert22306 is quite right: tasks that used to be done on a PC are shifting to other devices.
It's all about use cases. The traditional PC is *not* going to go away, but the market is declining.
Part of the problem for PC makers is that PCs are commodities, with commodity pricing and razor thin margins. Dell's recent move to take itself private is a side-effect of that, as it becomes more and more difficult to make money on PCs.
Another part is that the PC market is arguably saturated, with most folks who might be able to use a PC already having one. There is still a substantial market for replacements and upgrades, but *new* sales may be miniscule.
The question becomes exactly what users can *do* with various types of devices. Things that used to be done by PC because it was the only device that could are migrating to tablets and phones, and many users who might have previously bought a PC may not *need* one, because a phone or tablet (or combination of them) will do everything they require. Some may even find
PCs they already have superfluous.
And the commoditization ia occurring now in tablets and phones, as well. Nook has thrown in the towel, and will no longer produce the Nook Tablet and Table HD, and will concentrate on the dedicated ebook reader market. No surprise: everyone I know who looked at the Nook Tablet saw a device that could be rooted to prodeuce a cheap Android tablet, but those are becoming available at prices Nook can't meet profitably.
I expect phone makers to come under similar pressure, and every phone to become a smartphone, simply because the hardware is cheap enough that it *can*.
The vendors all live in interesting times.
I'm not the marketing genius' that Gartner and co. are, but these numbers are common sense. The PC/Laptops have basically topped out technology wise. I have a PC that I upgraded to a new CPU and video card 2 years ago and probably won't touch for 2 more years. I don't have a reason to, as it is good enough. In the meantime, I have bought 2 smartphones, a netbook and two tablets. I think the miss that these PC Doomsayers have is that unless something incredible happens to technology, most folks hold onto PCs longer (and they still do their jobs), but buy portable, convenient hardware to consume media. The two universes are coexisting, not so much replacing one with the other, as the doomsayers would have you believe.
The law of unintended consequences is hitting the software vendors. When (brief) "lifetime" personal computer software licenses are being replaced by cloud based annual subscription business models, consumers respond by dropping their PC and replacing it with a tablet for which many inexpensive software options are available from a range of vendors.
This reinforces my comment that the "PC in decline" hype misses the point. The function of the PC is migrating to devices not previously labeled "PC." As Gartner points out, people still want to be able to create stuff. The segments they claim will show growth are the ultramobiles/hybrid devices, and cheap tablets.
I suggest to you, cheap tablets are replacing periodicals, paper newspapers, and paperback books. Ultramobiles/hybrids are replacing PCs. Before tablets existed, it's hardly surprising that PCs were bein used for roles in which they represented overkill.