Tablet growth hurting PC sales worldwide

By SiliconIndia   |   Tuesday, 30 November 2010, 07:52 Hrs
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New Delhi: A preliminary forecast by Gartner revealed worldwide PC shipments will see an increase of 14.3 percent this year as compared to 2009. It is estimated that a total of 352.4 million units of PCs will be shipped during the year.

Gartner had predicted in September earlier, a growth of 17.9 percent in PC shipment. The latest forecast is however much lesser than its previous prediction. Gartner also reduced its prior estimation of 18.1 percent PC shipment growth in 2011 to 15.9 percent, when compared to 2010.

Ranjit Atwal, Research Director, Gartner said on the trend, "These results reflect marked reductions in expected near-term unit growth based on expectations of weaker consumer demand, due in no small part to growing user interest in media tablets such as the iPad. Over the longer term, media tablets are expected to displace around 10 percent of PC units by 2014."

Analysts at Gartner predict that growth of the PC market will be hampered by devices that enable better on-the-go content consumption such as media tablets and next-generation smartphones. Raphael Vasquez, Research Analyst, Gartner said, "These devices will be increasingly embraced as complements if not substitutes for PCs where voice and light data consumption are desired. It is likely that desk-based PCs will be adversely impacted over the long-term by the adoption of hosted virtual desktops, which can readily use other devices like thin clients."

Although PCs are still a necessity, the business model of the PC industry needs to change. At present it mostly thrives on driving volume through price declines. However vendors need to focus on through services and technology innovation rather than unit volume and price.

Gartner analysts enlist few challenges looming the PC industry. First, while emerging markets will continue to drive growth, mature markets will face mounting challenges. Also in the emerging markets, consumers may jump over PCs and move directly to alternative devices in the coming years.

Second factor will be the continuous shrinking of the customer wallet due to the economic inconsistency. The challenge of emerging devices like tablets is the third factor that Gartner cites as a challenge to the PC industry. Also the upward movement of emerging devices will extend the average lifecycles of PCs, thereby hampering the sales of PCs.

These aspects need immediate attention from the PC industry in order to save its fall of disgrace.

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