For those of us who continue to resist the idea that the PC is becoming extinct, Gartner has an interesting hypothesis.
According to Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, in a press release:
Whereas as once we imagined a world in which individual users would have both a PC and a tablet as personal devices, we increasingly suspect that most individuals will shift consumption activity to a personal tablet, and perform creative and administrative tasks on a shared PC.
The analysis accompanies Gartner’s report that worldwide PC sales fell by 4.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 to 90.3 million units. Consumers are replacing older PCs with tablets, but haven’t given up on PCs entirely, Gartner explains. Many users will retain both products, but tablets will be a personal device, while PCs increasingly will be a shared resource.
Either way, PC sales are declining. The good news for vendors, Gartner says, is that technology advancements are resonating with consumers. The disenfranchised PCs are those with lighter configurations, while average selling prices (ASPs) for applications-rich PCs are poised to increase when users do replace their older devices.
The transition period is likely to be painful for component suppliers, however. Even though retailers were able to clear their shelves on Windows 7-based PCs during the holiday period, there’s still a lot of Windows 8 PC inventory lying around. PC vendors were able to ship their Windows 8 products from their warehouses, but sell-through at retail and other outlets has been slow.
It’s unclear if PC makers will be placing new component orders, or waiting until existing inventory has cleared. The release of Windows 8 did not have a significant impact on PC sales, Gartner says.
Other highlights of the report:
- Hewlett-Packard regained its No. 1 slot in worldwide PC shipments in 2012's fourth quarter with 15.2 percent market share
- Lenovo dropped to No. 2, with 15.5 percent market share
- US PC shipments totaled 17.5 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012, a 2.1 percent decline from 2011's fourth quarter
- PC shipments in EMEA totaled 28.1 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012, a 9.6 percent decrease from the prior year
- Shipments in Asia/Pacific totaled 29.9 million units in 2012's fourth quarter, a 1.8 percent decline from the fourth quarter in 2011