Worldwide PC hardware sales shrink again

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#1 Posted by LordOfPoms (1138 posts) -

Seems that while PC software sales are up (thanks Steam!) the majority of people are still embracing the tablet instead of the traditional PC and it shows no signs of slowing. But no need to panic yet, it's not as steep a drop as it sounds.

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2013-10-10-worldwide-pc-hardware-sales-shrink-again-as-tablet-shift-continues

A study from research firm Gartner has claimed that the worldwide PC market is continuing to decline, shrinking another 8.6 per cent year on year in the last quarter as the public shifts more and more to the use of tablets and smartphones for everyday computing needs.

80.3 million PCs were shipped globally in Q3, 2013, according to the study, less than any other comparable quarter since 2008. Usually, the period is associated with a sales spike, as parents and students purchase new laptops and home machines in preparation for a return to schools, colleges and universities, but Gartner's research shows 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."

Not all PC suppliers are feeling the pinch just yet, however, with the market coalescing with its biggest suppliers. Lenovo, HP and Dell all saw an increase in unit sales and market share from the same quarter last year, with Lenovo retaining its position as number one global PC retailer. That is in spite of a contraction in its traditional marketplace of Asia - a shift somewhat counterbalanced by a growth in US sales; both for Lenovo specifically and the market in general.

"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."

However, whilst the US is nosing upwards, EMEA territories are in decline, dropping 13.7 per cent of sales. That drop has been attributed, in part, 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."

#2 Posted by LegatoSkyheart (26737 posts) -

News flash! People don't see a need to upgrade to a completely new PC or they just simply Upgrade their PC parts!

going on Year 2 on my PC.

#3 Edited by LordOfPoms (1138 posts) -

@LegatoSkyheart said:

News flash! People don't see a need to upgrade to a completely new PC or they just simply Upgrade their PC parts!

going on Year 2 on my PC.

The larger picture is that people aren't upgrading their PC parts. They're leaving PC's be and getting tablets to fulfill daily activities. The long term effect of this is that you have tons of home PCs, but running on dated hardware because everyone is buying gadget tech instead. So while they still have a household PC, it's not really the focus anymore. Gaming wise that's not as big an issue, but market-wise it's something to note as it's an interesting trend.

#4 Posted by LegatoSkyheart (26737 posts) -

@LordOfPoms said:

@LegatoSkyheart said:

News flash! People don't see a need to upgrade to a completely new PC or they just simply Upgrade their PC parts!

going on Year 2 on my PC.

The larger picture is that people aren't upgrading their PC parts. They're leaving PC's be and getting tablets to fulfill daily activities. The long term effect of this is that you have tons of home PCs, but running on dated hardware because everyone is buying gadget tech instead. So while they still have a household PC, it's not really the focus anymore. Gaming wise that's not as big an issue, but market-wise it's something to note as it's an interesting trend.

Oh well I didn't think of that, but yeah I can see why. Tablets and Smartphones pretty much do what the average person does with a Computer so I can see why people would opt for a Tablet and or Smart Phone over a Computer any day.

Portable Computing is pretty neat. Though if you want to actually get work done you'll need a Real PC.

#5 Posted by Cranler (8809 posts) -

This has nothing to do with pc gaming. PC gaming hardware has always been an incredibly small part of the pc hardware market.

#6 Posted by lostrib (44531 posts) -

This is for total PC sales. Most likely those switching to tablets are not PC gamers

#7 Posted by jacksepticeye (25 posts) -

PC Hardware in general, not targeted specifically at gaming

#8 Posted by kraken2109 (13257 posts) -

Most PC gamers don't buy prebuilts

We don't need to buy a new PC every year

We don't need to upgrade our PCs every year

#9 Posted by Netherscourge (16355 posts) -

@kraken2109 said:

Most PC gamers don't buy prebuilts

We don't need to buy a new PC every year

We don't need to upgrade our PCs every year

Which means PC part manufacturers are not making a lot of money and software developers would rather make games for a standardized console, tablet or smartphone than a heavily fragmented PC platform.

The uniqueness of the PC industry is, ironically, what's holding it back.

#10 Edited by -Unreal- (24573 posts) -

This isn't really a gaming topic.

#11 Edited by Silent-Assasin7 (1496 posts) -

This is also the worst time to upgrade hardware or buy new rigs. Great deals on tablets and the new consoles coming out, it's hard to justify several hundred dollars on a powerful desktop right now. However, give it some time for high end components to drop in price and the performance difference between PC and consoles to increase significantly, and I guarantee you'll see sales go back up a bit.

#12 Posted by treedoor (7648 posts) -

Yeah, this is the prebuilt sector of the market, and the consumer-base for this market are people looking to use facebook, email, look up pumpkin-based recipes for halloween, and watch Netflix. Perhaps some very light browser gaming, Minecraft, The Sims, etc.

Not really what you'd call the "PC gaming" market. Nobody is buying a $400 laptop at Best Buy with the intention of playing the latest Total War, or Battlefield 4, so the shrinking of that market isn't really a good indicator of the health of the PC gaming market.

#13 Edited by lostrib (44531 posts) -

@Netherscourge said:

@kraken2109 said:

Most PC gamers don't buy prebuilts

We don't need to buy a new PC every year

We don't need to upgrade our PCs every year

Which means PC part manufacturers are not making a lot of money and software developers would rather make games for a standardized console, tablet or smartphone than a heavily fragmented PC platform.

The uniqueness of the PC industry is, ironically, what's holding it back.

and yet PC continues to get great games. Actually, I think it's gotten more games than the PS3 and 360 this year

#14 Posted by RimacBugatti (1632 posts) -

In my opinion purchasing a good gaming laptop isn't worth it in my opinion. Gaming desktop could cost around $800 and a decent gaming laptop would cost atleast $1400 with around the same performance. The Tablets in my opinion don't perform like a gaming machine not to mention I want a separate controller.

#15 Posted by clyde46 (47869 posts) -

Well, you look at the people who normally buy laptops. They're the sort of people who just used it to write docs, browse Youtube/Facebook and other light things. Tablets will do all of that in addition to being more transportable, cheaper and having better battery life. Who in their right mind would buy another Windows laptop when they could buy a iPad or a Android tablet that does everything their laptop does and more for less money?

#16 Posted by LordOfPoms (1138 posts) -

@lostrib said:

@Netherscourge said:

@kraken2109 said:

Most PC gamers don't buy prebuilts

We don't need to buy a new PC every year

We don't need to upgrade our PCs every year

Which means PC part manufacturers are not making a lot of money and software developers would rather make games for a standardized console, tablet or smartphone than a heavily fragmented PC platform.

The uniqueness of the PC industry is, ironically, what's holding it back.

and yet PC continues to get great games. Actually, I think it's gotten more games than the PS3 and 360 this year

In fairness, PC shares a majority of the games that consoles do, so the uniqueness is only relative to if you want to play smaller games that absolutely are not on console such as Crusader Kings, and even then the barrier of entry for games like that to go to console is getting lower and lower.

#17 Edited by kraken2109 (13257 posts) -

@Netherscourge said:

@kraken2109 said:

Most PC gamers don't buy prebuilts

We don't need to buy a new PC every year

We don't need to upgrade our PCs every year

Which means PC part manufacturers are not making a lot of money and software developers would rather make games for a standardized console, tablet or smartphone than a heavily fragmented PC platform.

The uniqueness of the PC industry is, ironically, what's holding it back.

And yet steam has more users than ever.

#18 Edited by clyde46 (47869 posts) -

@kraken2109 said:

@Netherscourge said:

@kraken2109 said:

Most PC gamers don't buy prebuilts

We don't need to buy a new PC every year

We don't need to upgrade our PCs every year

Which means PC part manufacturers are not making a lot of money and software developers would rather make games for a standardized console, tablet or smartphone than a heavily fragmented PC platform.

The uniqueness of the PC industry is, ironically, what's holding it back.

And yet steam has more users than ever.

Steam is but a faction of the PC market place.

#19 Edited by blue_hazy_basic (28897 posts) -

Oh look, about the same number of PC's sold in 3 months as in an entire console generation, the PC is doomed!

#20 Edited by LordOfPoms (1138 posts) -

@blue_hazy_basic said:

Oh look, about the same number of PC's sold in 3 months as in an entire console generation, the PC is doomed!

I think it's a noteworthy number, both the decrease and the gigantic total, in that while the PC Market shrinks, the PC gaming sector is growing. Talk about opposite directions. It's fascinating.

#21 Posted by edidili (3449 posts) -

@clyde46 said:

Who in their right mind would buy another Windows laptop when they could buy a iPad or a Android tablet that does everything their laptop does and more for less money?

I guess people which work involves something more than using a browser or skype? While ipad or android tablet may be fine for what my granma needs, all she needs is to use skype and fb to keep in contact with people, I doubt a student today would get an ipad over a laptop. I for example can't just use a tablet as my only computing device. I use my tablet mainly to fool around once in a while and even that is not getting much use lately.

#22 Posted by clyde46 (47869 posts) -

I think a lot also has to do with the efficiency of modern OS's. Now firms don't need to buy new machines every year because the ones they already have are perfectly fine for what they need.

#23 Edited by LordOfPoms (1138 posts) -

@edidili said:

@clyde46 said:

Who in their right mind would buy another Windows laptop when they could buy a iPad or a Android tablet that does everything their laptop does and more for less money?

I guess people which work involves something more than using a browser or skype? While ipad or android tablet may be fine for what my granma needs, all she needs is to use skype and fb to keep in contact with people, I doubt a student today would get an ipad over a laptop. I for example can't just use a tablet as my only computing device. I use my tablet mainly to fool around once in a while and even that is not getting much use lately.

Students today are encouraged to get laptops over desktops and the rise of ebooks has led to tablets becoming major players in the college seen as you can get entire textbooks on your tablet instead of buying the actual book. It's much cheaper and overall better for the student.

#24 Edited by blue_hazy_basic (28897 posts) -

@clyde46 said:

Well, you look at the people who normally buy laptops. They're the sort of people who just used it to write docs, browse Youtube/Facebook and other light things. Tablets will do all of that in addition to being more transportable, cheaper and having better battery life. Who in their right mind would buy another Windows laptop when they could buy a iPad or a Android tablet that does everything their laptop does and more for less money?

They still suck for anything really deep for work. I can just imagine writing a 20 page report on a tablet *shudders*

#25 Edited by flashn00b (3196 posts) -

I still think that PC hardware manufacturers may need to squeeze out a higher performance per dollar if they want PC gaming to compete with consoles.

#26 Edited by clyde46 (47869 posts) -

@edidili said:

@clyde46 said:

Who in their right mind would buy another Windows laptop when they could buy a iPad or a Android tablet that does everything their laptop does and more for less money?

I guess people which work involves something more than using a browser or skype? While ipad or android tablet may be fine for what my granma needs, all she needs is to use skype and fb to keep in contact with people, I doubt a student today would get an ipad over a laptop. I for example can't just use a tablet as my only computing device. I use my tablet mainly to fool around once in a while and even that is not getting much use lately.

You =/= the rest of the population. For someone who uses video editing software, a tablet as a main computing device is useless but an English student who doesn't use those exotic programs would be fine with a tablet. Its a great e-reader, there are word processing programs and you can get a keyboard for them. I never said it was a perfect swap but I think the pro's for tablets almost always out the con's.

#27 Edited by clyde46 (47869 posts) -

@blue_hazy_basic said:

@clyde46 said:

Well, you look at the people who normally buy laptops. They're the sort of people who just used it to write docs, browse Youtube/Facebook and other light things. Tablets will do all of that in addition to being more transportable, cheaper and having better battery life. Who in their right mind would buy another Windows laptop when they could buy a iPad or a Android tablet that does everything their laptop does and more for less money?

They still suck for anything really deep for work. I can just imagine writing a 20 page report on a tablet *shudders*

Granted, however if you are only doing light work as I stated then tablets are fine. The drop in global laptop sales speaks volumes.

#28 Posted by LordOfPoms (1138 posts) -

@blue_hazy_basic said:

@clyde46 said:

Well, you look at the people who normally buy laptops. They're the sort of people who just used it to write docs, browse Youtube/Facebook and other light things. Tablets will do all of that in addition to being more transportable, cheaper and having better battery life. Who in their right mind would buy another Windows laptop when they could buy a iPad or a Android tablet that does everything their laptop does and more for less money?

They still suck for anything really deep for work. I can just imagine writing a 20 page report on a tablet *shudders*

it's not as hard as you think, particularly with keyboard accessories that can be connected via bluetooth, but it's still not the top solution IMO.

#29 Edited by edidili (3449 posts) -

@clyde46 said:

You =/= the rest of the population. For someone who uses video editing software,

I'm not talking about video editing only. If what you say is true, that a tablet can do what a laptop can even better than why is anyone buying laptops today?

There is a decline obviously but that's mainly from the people that only need a browser, not students or people work of which involves having to type for several hours. While there is a 8% decline you have to remember that that means there are still millions of laptops being sold. It didn't go to 0 or whatever little number that video editing niche makes up to.

#30 Edited by clyde46 (47869 posts) -

@edidili said:

@clyde46 said:

You =/= the rest of the population. For someone who uses video editing software,

I'm not talking about video editing only. If what you say is true, that a tablet can do what a laptop can even better than why is anyone buying laptops today?

There is a decline obviously but that's mainly from the people that only need a browser, not students or people work of which involves having to type for several hours. While there is a 8% decline you have to remember that that means there are still millions of laptops being sold. It didn't go to 0 or whatever little number that video editing niche makes up to.

When you are dealing with big numbers like that, an 8% drop is a huge margin.

#31 Edited by edidili (3449 posts) -

@clyde46 said:

When you are dealing with big numbers like that, an 8% drop is a huge margin.

Sure but the number of laptops still being sold is still huge. You said a tablet is better in everything then who the hell is still buying these laptops? It can't possibly be all video editing folks.

And I disagree with you that a tablet is better at everything. It's only better at portability and that's all. For me it kinda sucks at everything else. You can't even have two things running side by side. Even when it comes to light computing, you can't just have a forum on one side and some video on the other. When I'm inside I don't really use my tablet much and when I'm outside a phone trumps a tablet for portability anyway.

Sure in the future tablets will become more powerful, more capable and laptops will become thinner, removable keyboard and at some point they will converge becoming indistinguishable anyway.

#32 Edited by lostrib (44531 posts) -

@LordOfPoms said:

@lostrib said:

@Netherscourge said:

@kraken2109 said:

Most PC gamers don't buy prebuilts

We don't need to buy a new PC every year

We don't need to upgrade our PCs every year

Which means PC part manufacturers are not making a lot of money and software developers would rather make games for a standardized console, tablet or smartphone than a heavily fragmented PC platform.

The uniqueness of the PC industry is, ironically, what's holding it back.

and yet PC continues to get great games. Actually, I think it's gotten more games than the PS3 and 360 this year

In fairness, PC shares a majority of the games that consoles do, so the uniqueness is only relative to if you want to play smaller games that absolutely are not on console such as Crusader Kings, and even then the barrier of entry for games like that to go to console is getting lower and lower.

Not sure I would call SC2, WoW, and LoL small games

#33 Edited by TheFadeForever (2300 posts) -

http://jonpeddie.com/press-releases/details/global-pc-gaming-hardware-sales-shrug-off-pc-market-decline/

#34 Posted by EducatingU_PCMR (1181 posts) -

On the other hand, PC Gaming is on the rise.

Actually, is the high-end pc gaming sector that is growing:

http://jonpeddie.com/press-releases/details/global-pc-gaming-hardware-sales-shrug-off-pc-market-decline/

PC gamers, keeping PCs and videogames alive B)

#35 Posted by HaloinventedFPS (4736 posts) -

The average joe wants a Tablet now for facebook & e-mails, not a PC

Pre built PC's are not Gaming PC's btw

#36 Posted by lostrib (44531 posts) -

@HaloinventedFPS said:

The average joe wants a Tablet now for facebook & e-mails, not a PC

Pre built PC's are not Gaming PC's btw

well, they can be

#37 Posted by wis3boi (32095 posts) -

@Netherscourge said:

@kraken2109 said:

Most PC gamers don't buy prebuilts

We don't need to buy a new PC every year

We don't need to upgrade our PCs every year

Which means PC part manufacturers are not making a lot of money and software developers would rather make games for a standardized console, tablet or smartphone than a heavily fragmented PC platform.

The uniqueness of the PC industry is, ironically, what's holding it back.

Says a lot about the platform for gaming if it can hold itself back while simultaneously still holding its own on top of 3 other consoles every generation

#38 Posted by dogfather76 (589 posts) -

Thanks for letting us know. Still don't change the fact that PCs are superior in about every way.

#39 Posted by Mozuckint (831 posts) -

If you think PC gaming is a fraction of overall PC's

then Prebuilt Gaming PC's are a fraction of that fraction.

PC gaming is largely unaffected by the struggles of Prebuilts.

#40 Posted by Wasdie (50924 posts) -

This isn't really surprising.

#41 Posted by danten81 (328 posts) -

Interesting, but it has nothing to do with PC gaming. PC gamers build out of various parts, not a whole unit.

#42 Posted by lostrib (44531 posts) -

@danten81 said:

Interesting, but it has nothing to do with PC gaming. PC gamers build out of various parts, not a whole unit.

not necessarily...

#43 Posted by musicalmac (23787 posts) -

Way to go, Apple...

#45 Posted by NaveedLife (17179 posts) -

And it will continue to decline. This has nothing to do with PC gaming though, and everything to do with people who buy these things for surfing the web, school, and so on. Those people are getting tablets and such. PC gaming is alive and well.

#46 Posted by LordOfPoms (1138 posts) -

@HaloinventedFPS said:

The average joe wants a Tablet now for facebook & e-mails, not a PC

Pre built PC's are not Gaming PC's btw

You don't need a Gaming PC to play video games and the group that builds PCs entirely just for gaming is much smaller than you think.

#47 Posted by Lonelynight (30041 posts) -

More interested in learning about GPU sale figures

#48 Posted by blackace (21607 posts) -

@LegatoSkyheart said:

News flash! People don't see a need to upgrade to a completely new PC or they just simply Upgrade their PC parts!

going on Year 2 on my PC.

What's funny is these numbers only vaguely represent PC gamers anyways, as more PC gamer build their own rig. There are no numbers out there for how many people are building their own PC's. In this came, the numbers could be higher or lower. PC game rigs aren't tracked and really can't be tracked.

#49 Edited by blackace (21607 posts) -

@dogfather76 said:

Thanks for letting us know. Still don't change the fact that PCs are superior in about every way.

PC's are also the most faulty device when it comes to gaming. I wouldn't call that superior. Everything breaks on a PC whether it's software or hardware.

#50 Edited by AdrianWerner (28228 posts) -

@LordOfPoms said:

The larger picture is that people aren't upgrading their PC parts.

Gamers are. The sales of gaming pc hardware is increasing.

Those worldwide shipments numbers cover only two types of PCs

- laptops

-prebuilt desktops.

So all the upgrades, the PCs people built themselves or those that smaller shops put together for them aren't counted in the shipping numbers.