According to the latest reports, PC sales are on their longest sales slump in history. For the first time ever, PC sales dropped for five quarters in a row, marking their longest drop in history and suggesting trouble for PC manufacturers like Lenovo, Acer, and Asus.
That news comes from industry statistics expert Gartner, which revealed that sales in Q2 2013 contracted a further 10.9% to 76 million total unit shipments. To make matters worse for the PC, the lack of sales appears to have little to do with Windows 8, Ultrabook prices, or other factors. Instead, many people are deciding that they just don’t need a new PC anymore.
Instead of buying PCs, people are buying tablets or simply letting their computer get older and older. What’s the point of buying a new PC when an average smartphone has more power than a PC that’s a few years old?

The ugly truths

Take a look at some of these hard-hitting statistics from the latest Gartner report:
-PC shipments in total dropped 10.9% in Q2 2013
-HP shipments shrank 4% year-over-year
-Dell shipments shrank 5% year-over-year
-Asus shipments shrank 21% year-over-year
-Acer shipments shrank 35.3% year-over-year
-Lenovo and HP both received some good news, as their share of the market both increased to above 16%, while Dell also enjoyed a small bump in market share at the expense of Asus and Acer. However, this was not nearly enough to offset the overall drop in shipments at any of these companies.
Of course, like most statistics, your view of this report will change depending on how you look at the information. Some will see the Q3 2013 data as a sign of the times – PC sales aren’t necessarily disappearing; instead, PC users are just switching to tablet computers. Some of these tablets run Windows, while others run Android.

A silver lining?

There is good news for the PC market: back to school season is coming up. However, if PC sales continue to slump for a 6th straight quarter in Q3 2013, then expert some industry giants to make a serious change in their companies – HP has talked about spinning off its PC unit, for example, and some smaller manufacturers are bound to get bought out by larger companies.
Another silver lining is the fact that cheap Android tablet sales are particularly strong in the developing parts of the world – like most of Africa and India. PC shipments didn’t record quite as steep of a drop in key North American markets.

What does the future hold?

What do you think is ahead for PC manufacturers? Are smartphones the PCs of the future? Or are people going to forget about tablets and return to desktop PCs in a few years?
Personally, I think ten to fifteen years from now, most of us will be using tablets that can plug into workstations and easily be carried around wherever we go. These tablets will range from cheap to ultra-powerful and will be able to connect to accessories like a keyboard, mouse, and monitor for the full PC experience. If that’s the future of PCs, I’m totally okay with it.

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