Recall the time when your only option for connecting to the Internet was to boot up your PC or laptop? Well, those days are gone. You’ve got more alternatives than ever before to access the Internet, anything from your smartphone to your tablet to your video-game console. And that, as much as anything, is sending PC sales into a downward spiral. Web site Business Insider has declared this the end of the PC era.
Consumers lukewarm toward PCs
It’s not that people will no longer buy PCs. They will. They just aren’t going to be purchasing as many. When they would like to check their e-mail messages, update their Facebook pages and search for the phone number of that new Thai restaurant, they will be far more likely to punch up the Internet with their smartphones or tablets. Business Insider uses data from IDC and Gartner showing that PC sales have been flat since 2009 while the number of smartphones sold has now overtaken the number of PCs sold.
Tablets are Hot, Not PCs
If this is the end of the era of the PC, what era is it? The numbers increasingly suggest that we’re now in the era of the tablet. Business Insider’s story quotes numbers from Gartner, Strategy Analytics and IDC showing that consumers today are purchasing more tablets compared to are PCs. And consumers aren’t content to have just one iPad in their homes. The numbers as of July of 2012 show that 32.3 percent of U.S. report that their homes have two iPads, while 10.1 percent had three. That’s rather impressive demand for a product that’s still relatively new.
The future doesn’t look more favorable for PC makers. Business Insider, relying on numbers from Nielsen, found that about 40 percent of consumers 13 and older want to purchase tablets in the next half-year. Not as impressive is the number who want to buy PCs. Only 19 percent are interested in desktop computers. And the news is worse for PC makers when considering young consumers. Business Insider reported that a whopping 75 percent or so of young consumers want to buy tablets in the next six months, as opposed to just 30 percent who would like to buy a PC.