Tablet's gain is PC's loss

Does the rise in tablet sales signal the death of the PC, laptop era?


Sales of personal computers have fallen over the past year. According to IDC, worldwide PC sales declined in the third quarter of 2012 by 8.6 percent when compared to the same quarter in 2011. At a time when PC sales are plummeting, sales of tablets are on the rise. Recent estimates by IDC also show that year-over-year tablet sales increased in the fourth quarter of 2012 by 75.3 percent. These numbers show a dramatic shift in how we are purchasing and using devices. If the trend continues, we may eventually see the demise of the PC as we have known it over the past decade. Consumers seem to be moving toward a more mobile platform. But is this trend sustainable?

Owning an iPad is the only reason why I haven't upgraded my 3-year-old Macbook Air. It seems, in a way, that buying a new laptop would be taking a step back. Moreover, PCs and laptops aren't improving as much now as they did in the past. Upgrading a computer today doesn't result in the same boost in power and performance that we saw in the 2000s. Perhaps it's possible that the personal computer has peaked.

Even Apple is not immune to the decline of computer sales. According to an article on The Verge, Mac sales dropped 21.2 percent in Q1 2013 compared to the same quarter last year. At the same time, Apple witnessed record iPad sales, of 22.9m. In addition to the shocking numbers, the article also notes that "[c]omputer owners that once flocked to the Mac could simply be bypassing traditional computers altogether when looking for more assessable devices." Indeed.

While I don't see the death of laptops and personal computers anytime soon, I wonder, are we witnessing a slow death of the PC, laptop era?

Image source: OHTECH on Tumblr