The analyst firm confirms declining PC sales in Q4, and floats a theory that points to tablets as a likely cause.

Tablets killing the secondary PC market: Gartner

Following a report last week from research firm IDC Corp. reporting declining PC sales for the fourth quarter of 2012, rival research firm Gartner Inc. chimed in with similar numbers this week, and its own diagnosis: tablets..

According to Gartner, PC shipments declined by 4.9 per cent worldwide in Q4, compared to the same period a year ago. And it’s because of more than just a weak economy, claims the company.

“Tablets have dramatically changed the device landscape for PCs, not so much by ‘cannibalizing’ PC sales, but by causing PC users to shift consumption to tablets rather than replacing older PCs,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, in a statement. “Whereas as once we imagined a world in which individual users would have both a PC and a tablet as personal devices, we increasingly suspect that most individuals will shift consumption activity to a personal tablet, and perform creative and administrative tasks on a shared PC. There will be some individuals who retain both, but we believe they will be exception and not the norm. Therefore, we hypothesize that buyers will not replace secondary PCs in the household, instead allowing them to age out and shifting consumption to a tablet.”

For vendors and resellers, the silver lining according to Gartner is that the secondary PCs no longer being bought tended to be cheaper, less powerful models. The PCs being are still buying as their shared digital hubs tend to be better, and more expensive, configurations, meaning average selling prices will likely rise.

Windows 8 “did not have a significant impact” on PC shipments in the quarter, reports Gartner, singling-out vendors for failing to generate excitement due to lackluster configurations and not embracing touch-computing, which is meant to be the differentiator for the new OS.

And speaking of vendors, Gartner has HP at the top of its shipments list with 15.5 per cent of the market, followed by Lenovo and Dell at 15.5 and 10.2 per cent respectively. All the other players have less than 10 per cent of the market.

Source | Gartner

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