Research Firm: PC Market Taking a Hit from Tablets, Smartphones

A new study from research firm Gartner claims that the worldwide PC market is in decline, losing 8.6 percent from the same quarter a year ago. They say that consumers are shifting away from PCs to tablets and smartphones for their daily computing needs.

Gartner says that 80.3 million PCs were shipped globally in Q3, 2013, less than any other comparable quarter since 2008. This time of year usually coincides with a sales increase as parents and students purchase new laptops and PCs for school and college, but Gartner found that iOS and Android tablets are rapidly taking over as the go-to device for connected studying.

"Consumers' shift from PCs to tablets for daily content consumption continued to decrease the installed base of PCs both in mature as well as in emerging markets," said Gartner's Mikako Kitagawa of the sixth consecutive market shrinkage. "A greater availability of inexpensive Android tablets attracted first-time consumers in emerging markets, and as supplementary devices in mature markets."

Big players in the PC space such as Lenovo, HP and Dell are doing well, according to Gartner: all saw an increase in unit sales and market share from the same quarter last year, with Lenovo continuing to be the number one global PC retailer.

"The positive U.S. results could mean that seasonal strength and channel fill for new product launches in 3Q13 finally overcame the structural decline." Ms. Kitagawa explained. "Even though 3Q13 shipments were compared with artificially weak 2Q13 because of inventory control for the Windows 8 launch at the time, the 3Q13 results imply the U.S. market may have passed the worst declining stage, which started in 2010. The shrinking installed base of PCs has also passed the steepest decline phase because the structural change has progressed fairly quickly. Tablets will continue to impact the PC market, but the U.S. PC market will see a more moderate decrease rather than a steep decline in the next two years."

While the U.S. market is inching upwards again, Gartner says that EMEA territories are in decline, dropping 13.7 percent of sales in the quarter. They attribute this drop to a new generation of processors and preparation for the launch of Windows 8.1.

"During the third quarter many vendors went through product transitions to Intel's new Haswell and Bay Trail processors, while preparing for the October launch of Windows 8.1," Gartner's Isabelle Durand posits. "These product transitions and the clearing of old inventory that is taking place through the third and fourth quarters of 2013, have played a part in the slowdown of the PC market in EMEA. Many PC vendors also introduced Android tablets as a main part of their portfolios and this initiative drove PC sales downward."

Source: GII

"Tablet PCs" art, © 2013,

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  1. 0
    prh99 says:

    I have an iPad but the only thing I do with it is browse internet or watch videos on YouTube or Netflix when I don’t have a PC available otherwise I don’t really use it. I’ll take a PC any day cause I do not really like touch screens all that much, and iOS can be pretty irritating when it comes to basic tasks like text selection. Then again I am not a casual user.

  2. 0
    Thipp says:

    I do a lot of traveling for work and I have found that my Nexus 10 tablet easily fills all the needs my laptop used to in those situations so the laptop has been stuck away in a closet for the time being. At home I see no reason to use anything but my powerful gaming PC so the tablet sees little or no daily use. Tablets have their place but PCs are certainly still the better option for a lot of people for a lot of reasons even if they are no longer the every application device everyone needs to have. 

  3. 0
    Neeneko says:

    *nod* I also see this as a generally good thing.  When one has a narrow set of choices, one generally picks the one closest to their use case and go with that.

    As these new devices become more popular, users who were poorly served by the PC/Console/Handheld options are moving over to platforms that work better for them, which means a better suited experience, which means more and happier gamers.. which is of course good for the industry and good for gamers ^_^

  4. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    Honestly, I am glad that people are learning that they do not need Windows for casual computer use and that alternative operating systems and devices can provide everything they actual use when they get on the computer.

    I have always been of the opinion that a large majority of non-gaming home computer users could get by quite easily and painlessly by dropping windows and going with Linux. While this change isn't to Linux, it has at least knocked the wind out of the sails of Windows fan boys.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
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    Rusty Outlook
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    My Patreon

  5. 0
    GrimCW says:

    Doesn't help Win8 is designed FOR tablets and phones, NOT PC's…

    So it really doesn't "feel" right on a PC that isn't part tablet.

    I can see Linux and Apple taking over the PC market before people adapting to well to 8. Old people (whom usually have a hard time adapting to new tech anyways) especially would have an easier time learning an Apple than converting to win8, due to its already similar setup to older windows designs.

    If apple dropped their prices they'd dominate right now without even trying. Just one quick mass temp "sale"

  6. 0
    Neo_DrKefka says:

    With Microsoft releasing Windows 8 what reason do I have to get an updated PC when I know they will reverse course with the next release. When Vista came out it was bad but it was something I was used to and did not take a learning curve to learn. We know the adoption rates for Windows 8 is lower then Vista so unless Microsoft would like two consecutive failed systems that will make Metro optional and bring back the start menu. The new update did not bring the start menu back like we like so that did not help.

    Why would anyone want to upgrade or get a preloaded Windows 8 computer? Yeah it runs faster but a new product should be something that brings new features that makes the experience better not a painful experience. That’s why Everquest clones go free2play or they die.

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