PC industry freefall fastest on record, as phones and tablets take over


Things are looking pretty bad for makers of "traditional" computing devices like desktops and laptops. As more and more mobile gear like smartphones and tablets gets into the hands of users, all the basic tasks the general population needs can now be performed on them, hence postponing or ditching the refresh cycle altogether.

This trend has led to a nosedive in PC sales, in fact the biggest slump in two decades, or, basically, since the computer entered the mass market stage. Both Gartner and IDC are registering 11.2 and 13.9% decline from the same time last year, respectively.

This is a pretty unpleasant whipping for juggernauts like HP, Dell and the like, and only Lenovo seems to be keeping it steady, even registering growth to 15.3% of the market share, making it very close to the still-leading HP. Lenovo, however, didn't sleep through the shift to mobile computing, and besides its adequately-priced traditional laptops, it issued a number of innovative form factors like the IdeaPad Yoga line, as well as a few phones and tablets of its own.

Bear in mind that the jaw-dropping slump in the slide above has the making of a full-blown crisis indeed, but the stats don't include tablets, and the professional computers even registered an upwards trend, dedicating the reasons for the nosedive solely to the average consumer, whose computing needs now seem to be satisfied very well from just phones and tablets.

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31 Comments

1. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

We can say "All hail smartphones and tablets", but we cannot say smartphones and tablets take over, we still love desktops and laptops, most of the comments I posted are using them too!

2. bojan

Posts: 188; Member since: Oct 06, 2012

i agree with you phones and tablets can do many things we do on our laptops and destkotops but still not everything and we still love laptops/desktop no mater what. they need to invate more in desktops and laptops again area they been sleeping for a while now

3. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

Yup, everything are smartphones and tablets............... No more news of latest desktops and laptops............Where are they???

6. Nikolas.Oliver

Posts: 1574; Member since: Jul 01, 2012

pcs are still needed, pocketnow still uses mac to edit their videos

12. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

Indeed! I wonder what PhoneArena use to edit their videos and write their articles.............. Hmm......

18. Nikolas.Oliver

Posts: 1574; Member since: Jul 01, 2012

mac is still the best in terms of video-editing

19. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

maybe if you have a preference for Final Cut Pro. If you're more of a Vegas or Premiere user, both are available on PC and Mac.

15. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

There is a reason MS is putting so much effort into the Surface.... Once you have a desk-bound PC, do you buy a smartphone and/or tablet? Or, do you buy another PC? Sales trends would seem to argue that sales are shifting to smartphones and tablets, of which MS has a pitiful market share.

17. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

I agree with you, dude! :)

4. bojan

Posts: 188; Member since: Oct 06, 2012

they need to think of new ideas and new inventions to gain the attention again in this market.

5. jsdechavez

Posts: 814; Member since: Jul 20, 2012

There might come a time when most remaining PC will be in the business/services sector only. But that's discounting the slow gains in the adoption of Windows 8.

8. kobainez

Posts: 454; Member since: Apr 13, 2012

Smartphone and tablet will never replace pc :)

23. WHoyton1

Posts: 1635; Member since: Feb 21, 2013

Foolish comment as its not like we are going to be using pcs in 2030 is it?? No it's evolution mate it always happens

29. spideyhead256

Posts: 148; Member since: Nov 05, 2012

hopefully big budget games wont get made for touchscreens only.nothing can beat a controller imo.

9. cornerofthemoon

Posts: 620; Member since: Apr 20, 2010

Michael Dell just crapped in his pants.

10. cornerofthemoon

Posts: 620; Member since: Apr 20, 2010

Am I the only one who likes Windows 8?

14. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

You're not alone. I like Windows 8 too! :D

30. spideyhead256

Posts: 148; Member since: Nov 05, 2012

i like windows 8 but i rarely even bother touching the metro ui interface.

11. lubba

Posts: 1313; Member since: Jan 17, 2011

@Theslayer... Your the only one off subject. Think you posted the same bullcrap in another article.

16. FlushGordon unregistered

I always wanted an ultrabook but that crap of an OS WinDOWS ATE keeps holding me back! And hell no I refuse to pay another copy of windows 7 !!!

20. Bilpocalypse

Posts: 301; Member since: Oct 13, 2012

So you get a windows 8 ultrabook and install Start8. Then you basically get windows 7 that runs faster and has less compatibility issues.

21. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

This is only part of the story. These statistics factor in the sales of big box PCs (Dell, HP, Gateway, etc. etc) or Laptops and Netbooks. Yes, all 3 have been in a decline. However, if you look at other statistics (such as aftermarket sales of CPUs, GPUs, Harddrives, Power Supplies, etc.) those have actually been steadily increasing even after the tablet boom started with the Ipad. Why? Well using PCs for production reasons (music, video, etc.) as well as stuff like gaming are still increasing steadily. PCs are needed by the pros of course, but the enthusiast market is growing. And they spend more than the average person. There will be less PCs, but the amount spent per person will increase things to professionals that need the top notch stuff to do their jobs more efficiently as well as the enthusiasts that want the best gaming and multimedia experience. Another reason these parts sales are increasing is due to the fact that a custom built machine has became easier than ever to do.

22. mrblah

Posts: 577; Member since: Jan 22, 2013

this is good! the prices will free fall soon as well....

24. darac

Posts: 2156; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

No surprise here, and I welcome the inevitable shift. Everyone needs a phone, and with making it powerfully and capable enough, the software follows. Simply put - take a powerful phone of the next generation, add a 8-10 inch of high resolution screen module for the fraction of the price of a tablet, add another attachable keyboard module, spice all up with the next generation Android or Linux or windows software.. and you have the needs of 90 percent of people fully covered.

25. darac

Posts: 2156; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

Also, the modules could be connected to the smartphone wirelessly, hence eliminating every downside of a Padfone-type of solution.

31. UrbanPhantom

Posts: 949; Member since: Oct 30, 2012

There is a shift, but mobile devices are basically gutless wonders. Let me see you do video editing on an Android tablet or iPAD, or run a program like Maya or 3Ds Max, or even Audacity. Transcode on your meager tablet or smartphone? The PC isn't dead yet, nor will it be for a long time to come...

32. darac

Posts: 2156; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

I'm not saying it is dead. But it simply loses relevance for the AVERAGE consumer who just does internet, multimedia, reading and some casual gaming. Desktop will probably remain a professional tool for another decade or so, and a niche market for even a longer time (hard core gaming and programming) As for the concrete example you bring up.. of course that's not quite possible yet. But here's a concrete answer. It's just a matter of time. In 4 years, even the mid range smartphone /tablet should have the power of current macbook pro, for example.The rest is just a matter of hooking up the keyboard/desktop screen/big touchscreen module

33. darac

Posts: 2156; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

26. Tux_Alan

Posts: 74; Member since: Jan 30, 2013

The concept of a desktop/laptop will stay around for quite a while... the main loss within the next decade or so will most likelly be the customization we are used to seeing in pcs in favor of a mass production level... Pcs are somewhat of a UFO in today's market... what other consumer good is entirely customizable by nature? It's like you could use a hundai chassis with a honda engine, nissan transmission and mercedes seats on your car!

27. nanbanda

Posts: 17; Member since: Mar 30, 2013

if by any chance smartphones can replace it will be only in the home scene, but in offices this is virtually impossible since tasks performed in pc's in offices cannot be replicated in smartphones, atleast for now

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