By Jason Zhang, Marketing
It comes as a little surprise to many that the personal computer is gradually starting to lose its footing as the main player in the computing market. With new and developing technologies offering more innovative and efficient solutions, the PC has slowly begun to phase out of consumers’ most wanted devices. According to research outfit IDC, the PC market has recently suffered its “biggest decline in history.”
“IDC’s latest figures show that worldwide PC shipments totaled 71.9 million units in the fourth quarter of 2015, a year-on-year decline of 10.6 percent. This marks the biggest slump in the market to date, surpassing the 9.8 percent decline recorded in 2013.” (The Inquirer)
While these statistics do show the objective decline in personal computer sales, taking a closer look at the underlying reasons may provide far more valuable insights into its pertinence. First, consider that these numbers solely show the decline in purchases and shipments of new PC’s. Some suggest this is the result of an adapting consumer behavior: most consumers see no need to upgrade to completely new devices and are delaying their purchases as a result (The Inquirer).
Additionally, backwards compatibility of new software such as Microsoft’s Windows 10 on much older hardware, as well as the fact that it’s a free upgrade to existing Windows users, provides users with even more reason to postpone their upgrade (PC World). This certainly contributes to the concrete drop in sales, but does not mean that consumers are ditching their PC’s entirely. Rather, they are simply holding onto their older devices and making them last longer, save for niche users like gamers and PC enthusiasts who require frequent updates to keep up with the latest technologies.
Yet perhaps a more significant explanation as to why PC sales are floundering relates to the upward trends in alternative offerings: mobile phones, tablets, and their relatively newer sibling, the 2-in-1. While mobile phones and tablets are also seeing somewhat of a decline, the 2-in-1 is receiving increasingly more attention (PC World). In its early stages, the 2-in-1 hybrid laptop may have seemed an awkward solution to the laptop versus tablet contention. Now, it’s becoming clear that the latest 2-in-1’s can solve many of the existing problems consumers face when making a purchase decision.
The 2-in-1 is positioned as a sleek, cost-effective, and flexible alternative that satisfies the benefits of having both a tablet and a laptop in one device (Laptop Mag). With the ability to run operating systems like Windows 10 on a slim device, 2-in-1 hybrids can provide all the basic needs that most professionals require, but with more mobility, functionality, and efficiency (Dell). For the common user, what does a PC satisfy that the 2-in-1 cannot?
Ultimately, Loren Loverde, vice president of IDC’s Worldwide PC tracker, remains optimistic about the PC market’s future due to his belief that most PC users are merely delaying the inevitable: “[they] can only maintain this for so long before facing security and performance issues”. He predicts that PC replacements should pick up again in 2016 as Windows 10 will eventually become widely accepted, resulting in new consumer motivation to buy new products (The Inquirer). But in order to address their competitors, PC companies will have to make big changes in versatility, design, and functionality. Companies like Acer with its new hybrid – the Aspire Switch 12 S – are bringing some heavyweights into the ring, and the PC has to be prepared.
Full articles listed below:
The Inquirer PC Decline
PC World PC Decline
PC World Upgrade Cycle Slows
Dell 2-in-1 Features
Laptop Mag 2-in-1