Reports of the computers demise have been greatly exaggerated. We’ve all heard that everyone’s just buying tablets and smartphones, and throwing out their keyboards and mice. But if you live in the real world, you see people using computers every day.
The statistics show that computers are still selling in large numbers and are used much more than tablets. But we don’t need statistics to see this — we all know that huge amounts of people still use and need PCs.
PC and personal computers sales are declining fast. Soon, no one will buy them anymore. Everyone’s just buying tablets and smartphones, and tablet sales for apple and samsung for are skyrocketing! That’s the established wisdom, anyway. But is that what the statistics really say?
Gartner reports that 82.6 million PCs and laptops were shipped in the fourth quarter of 2013. That’s a 6.9 percent drop from the fourth quarter of 2012 and the seventh quarter in a row of declining shipments. This sounds like bad news, but the decline in PC and computer sales has actually been slowing. Gartner believes that PC sales have “bottomed out” — while computer sales are dropping, it’s hardly a market in free fall. But it’s not really the sales that are important — it’s what people are actually using.
Stat Counter’s browser usage data for January 2014 shows that desktop browsers accounted for 71.89% of visits, while mobile (smartphones) accounted for 22.42% and tablets accounted for just 5.69%. Most people are clearly using desktop web browsers to access the web. If they’re not, they’re probably using a smartphone browser — tablet browsers are far behind.
But perhaps we’re just looking in reverse. What’s really important is the long-term trend. If tablet and smartphones sales are accelerating, then tablets and smartphones may just “kill” PCs.
Here’s the thing: While more tablets ipad and galaxy are being sold than ever, the growth of tablet sales is slowing. IDC reports that 76.9 million tables and smartphones were shipped in the fourth quarter of 2013. That’s a 28.2% growth in shipments over the same quarter in the previous year, but that previous quarter had an 87.1% growth over its previous year. In other words, tablet and smartphones sales are growing more slowly — sales aren’t accelerating, but are slowing down. Many of these tablets are also cheaper, smaller, lower-end tablets that are even less prepared to replace a PC than premium tablets like the iPad. IDC concludes that “markets such as the U.S. are reaching high levels of consumer saturation.”