Print 22 comment(s) - last by melgross.. on Jan 16 at 10:02 AM

Tablets are taking over

According to research firm Gartner, global computer shipments totaled 90.3 million units in Q4 2012. That number represents a 4.9% decline compared to Q4 2011. Just last week, research firm IDC reported a decline of 6.4% from Q4 2012 compared to Q4 2011.
Analysts at Gartner believe that the problems with the PC industry go beyond a sagging global economy alone.

“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.

“This transformation was triggered by the availability of compelling low-cost tablets in 2012, and will continue until the installed base of PCs declines to accommodate tablets as the primary consumption device,” Kitagawa continued. “On the positive side for vendors, the disenfranchised PCs are those with lighter configurations, which mean that we should see an increase in PC average selling prices (ASPs) as users replace machines used for richer applications, rather than for consumption.”

Gartner reports that consumers no longer view computers as the number one gift item during the holiday season. The analytics firm also reports that the launch of Windows 8 did not have a significant effect on computer shipments for Q4.

Gartner ranks HP as the top computer maker in the industry with 16.2% of the market. Lenovo has the second place spot with 15.5% of the market and Dell has third place with 10.2% of the market. Rounding out the top five are Acer with 9.5% of the market and Asus with 7.2%.
The only two companies that actually grew in Q4 2012 compared to Q4 2011 were Lenovo with 8.2% growth and ASUS with 6.4% growth. 

Source: Gartner

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PCs are good enough
By vXv on 1/14/2013 10:28:43 AM , Rating: 3
PCs and Laptops that people currently have a "good enough" i.e there is little to gain by buying new ones so they spend there money on other devices instead.

RE: PCs are good enough
By RufusM on 1/14/2013 10:43:38 AM , Rating: 2
Yep, I think this is one of the big factors. I see more of our customers holding onto hardware longer since it's good enough and there's no driving need to upgrade it.

The current tablet market is also cutting deeper into laptop sales. Over the past couple of years I've seen more and more iPads at conferences where I used to see all laptops. I guesstimate 50% of the people at the last tech conference I went to brought their tablet instead of their PC. Their PC/laptop is for work and their tablet is for traveling. These were mostly sales and executive types who had tablets. The IT guys still had laptops for the most part.

RE: PCs are good enough
By Mitch101 on 1/14/2013 10:47:08 AM , Rating: 3
Most of the people I know including myself just got SSD's for all our PC's to breathe new life into them instead of upgrading the whole machine. SSD's make a lot of information instant. Hard drives have been a bottleneck for a long time not the CPU/RAM. I might make it another 6 months before upgrading the video card or adding a second one.

RE: PCs are good enough
By retrospooty on 1/14/2013 11:05:17 AM , Rating: 3
Exactly... Anything from the Core 2 on up will easily handle anything that 99% of users throw at it. If it is slow, its either got a slow an/ord bloated hard drive or not enough RAM. Any Core 2 with an SSD and enough RAM will scream.

RE: PCs are good enough
By Argon18 on 1/14/2013 4:18:10 PM , Rating: 2
True, the days of PC's being "obsolete" in 18 months are over. That Core2 or Athlon64 from 5 years ago (five!) is still plenty adequate today for 95% of consumers out there. Aside from the slowdowns associated with Windows OS rot, the hardware is capable enough for everyone but the hardcore l33t gamers.

RE: PCs are good enough
By maugrimtr on 1/15/2013 10:02:52 AM , Rating: 2
I have 5 year old PC. Slap in a newer GPU and an SSD. It will murder practically all PC games in existence (except perhaps for Planetside 2 which is CPU bound even on quad cores from that period).

If a modern PC game can run flawlessly on an ancient CPU, the need to purchase a new PC is eliminated for anyone with half a brain (barring technical disaster or non-gaming requirements). PC makers can thank consoles for forcing games to remain stagnant on CPU requirements. In fact, we can thank Microsoft for releasing the Xbox 360 - it looks like their pitifully low profit hardware division is assisting in the demise of regular PC refreshes (and new Windows licenses).

The gaming standard is important. If you don't need a new CPU and Motherboard for games, you definitely won't need them for browsing, word processing and other office tasks.

RE: PCs are good enough
By talikarni on 1/14/2013 5:34:19 PM , Rating: 2
heck I am still running my E6600, 4GB DDR2, P35 mobo... but I did upgrade video card to GTX550Ti and SSD and this system still handles the few games I play with ease (World of TANKS, CS:GO and a few others).

RE: PCs are good enough
By Madzombie on 1/14/2013 6:23:46 PM , Rating: 2
Heck even a Core Duo runs well with an SSD. I'm running a 6/5 year old laptop with a T2300, 4GB DDR2 and an Intel SSD 330 and it feels like a brand new machine. April 2014 will be a decision point though: update to Windows 7/8 or use it as an excuse to buy a new machine.

RE: PCs are good enough
By TakinYourPoints on 1/14/2013 1:56:23 PM , Rating: 2
Pretty much. I used to gut my PCs every 18-24 months, but with my i7 rig I'm going on three years and four months with the same mobo and CPU. The real upgrade I've made was to my video card (SLI GTX 460 to a GTX 680), and that's only because I got tired of running SLI to drive my 2560x1440 monitor. If I was on a normal display like most people I'd have stuck with a single card this whole time.

I think I'll upgrade to Haswell later this year because its just too weird keeping hardware for this long (I know this is an irrational excuse), but I'm not under massive pressure to upgrade like I have been in the past.

RE: PCs are good enough
By TakinYourPoints on 1/14/2013 6:27:08 PM , Rating: 2
The thing though is that if wasn't a gamer I would really have no reason to upgrade. Gaming at 2560x1440 puts me at a niche of a niche since it demands more horsepower than even most gamers need. Triple monitor gaming is probably the most demanding thing right now, and that market is so small that even game support is inconsistent.

It isn't anything like the old days where an annual upgrade to make Quake 2 run smoother made sense, hardware was catching up with software in a big way.

Things on both the hardware and software side have reached a point of "good enough" for a while now. You don't need amazing hardware for what most people use computers for, which happen to be tasks that tablets and smartphones do very well.

RE: PCs are good enough
By Cheesew1z69 on 1/14/13, Rating: -1
RE: PCs are good enough
By TakinYourPoints on 1/14/2013 9:11:02 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, more stalking posts this from creepers like from you, not gross at all!

If my...
By inaphasia on 1/14/2013 2:05:49 PM , Rating: 2
If my ... breaks, will I replace it?

Desktop: yes (but not in a hurry)
Mp3: no
Laptop: Within the hour
Netbook: no
Tablet: no
Digital camera: no
GPS: no
Phone (smart or otherwise): within the hour

Now, I have no doubt 2013 will be The Year of the Tablet. But remind me how many years the netbook fad lasted? That's exactly how long the tablet fad is gonna last. Only difference is tablets wont disappear altogether when the fad is over. They have their niche uses.

RE: If my...
By melgross on 1/15/2013 12:06:54 PM , Rating: 2
This is wishful thinking on your part. The netbook market never grew to the size that the tablet market is now. It was also mainly a result of the recession, as the netbook first came out about the time the recession began. While economic times aren't great now, we aren't in a recession, and the tablet (iPad, really) came out in 2010, after the fear of the recession was receding. And iPads, cost more than netbooks, as much as the average cheaper/midprice notebook, and yet, they sold very well.

Sales are still growing at a terrific pace. Sometimes, we have to look at reality, and not what we wish were true.

RE: If my...
By inaphasia on 1/15/2013 4:30:06 PM , Rating: 2
I think you've pegged me as a fanboy of some sort, I'm just not sure what kind. I don't wish anything as far as tablets are concerned.

What I was trying to say is that Gartner (and now you) are overthinking this. It's smartphones that are here to stay. Tablets (like netbooks before them) are cute, new and great for children, noobs, and old-folk. Do you honestly think the teens of today will own a tablet in their overweight late 20s?

I just think once the novelty wears off people will realize tablets ore too heavy and just plain clunky for personal use. I can imagine them demoted to the section of the store which currently occupies Mp3 players and point&shoot cameras, in five years time.

RE: If my...
By melgross on 1/16/2013 10:02:35 AM , Rating: 2
I get the feeling that you haven't used a tablet for much time, particularly an iPad. I have to say iPad, like it or not, because, right now, that's the only tablet that lives in more than the world of content consumption. Maybe the Win 8 tablet will survive, but at a starting price of $1,000 with the needed keyboard, I'm not so sure how well they'll sell.

By Tony Swash on 1/14/13, Rating: 0
RE: Correction
By datdamonfoo on 1/14/2013 1:44:01 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, but you are confused. That is U.S. only, where HP gained 12.6% and Lenovo 9.7%. Worldwide...well, we have no numbers reported by Gartner for Apple. The stats from this article are for worldwide shipments.

RE: Correction
By Tony Swash on 1/14/2013 3:12:47 PM , Rating: 2
You are right - my bad. Sorry/

RE: Correction
By melgross on 1/15/2013 11:56:24 AM , Rating: 2
Is interesting though that both Gartner and IDC say that Mac sales are increasing at a faster clip out of the USA. Last I saw, they had a 7.3% marketshare worldwide, putting them not too far out of fifth place. That compares with a 6.5% marketshare same time a year ago, when they would have been seventh.

Another problem is that these numbers are partly estimates, not real. Not all of these companies have reported for the last quarter, and not all begin quarters at the same time. Apple, for example, won't report until the 23rd. Last quarter, both Gartner and IDC reported publicly, that Apple had increased marketshare in the USA, but Gartner reported that their sales were down 6.5% YOY, and IDC reported them down by 9.5%. Yet, when Apple reported, they were up 1%. This is a big mash up, as these companies don't correct their numbers after companies report. So these numbers are open to correction by others later.

In addition, it would be more interesting if they released to the public more of their data, as they don't just rate the top five. We generally don't get to see those numbers though, because that's where these companies make their money selling subscriptions and individual reports. Sometimes I have access.

Market saturation
By Beenthere on 1/14/2013 5:31:42 PM , Rating: 4
The drop in PC sales is a combination of market saturation, an 5 year long economic recession that shows no real signs of ending for another 5 years and portable electronic toys with more functions. This isn't some revelation. Anyone with a clue already knew this.

The portable PC toys are just something else for those who have money, to spend it on. The majority of unemployed people are not rushing out to buy electronic toys when they might not even have enough money to buy food and pay the rent/mortgage.

Windows OEMs suck
By tayb on 1/14/2013 8:26:07 PM , Rating: 1
I'm convinced that there are people out there just like me who walk into Fry's and find rows and rows of shit. I walked in last week with my list of requirements... and walked out with nothing.

Windows OEMs suck. Price, performance, weight, battery life. Pick three.

The Lenovo Helix looks pretty neat. I'll probably pick that up whenever it is released late Feb. Until then I can't say enough bad things about Windows OEMs.

"Vista runs on Atom ... It's just no one uses it". -- Intel CEO Paul Otellini

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