PC sales may be in for a slow rebound, thanks to more first world consumers already owning tablets and starting to buy desktops again.
On Thursday, research firm Gartner Inc. reported 79.4 million PCs were sold in the third quarter of this year – just a 0.5 per cent decline from the same period last year. Much of that growth is coming from the developed world, as tablet penetration has now hit 40 to 50 per cent, and people are spending money on PCs again.
“Growth in the mature markets was offset by a decline in shipments in emerging markets, similar to what was seen in the second quarter of 2014,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, in a statement. She added sales in western Europe and North America point to a PC industry that may be bouncing back.
“Consumers’ attention is slowly going back to PC purchases as tablet adoption peaked with mainstream consumers. In contrast, weakness in the emerging market reflects the saturation in selected consumer segments where they can afford PCs,” she said.
“In the meantime, consumers who don’t have PCs will likely buy low-priced tablets. This is a one of the major reasons for the slow growth in PC shipments in the emerging market.”
We reported before that PC sales had plateaued, finally halting their spiral downwards in July, according to research from Gartner. That’s an especially good sign for the top five PC makers in terms of the number of sales, including Lenovo, Dell, HP, Acer Group and Asus – all of which showed stronger sales than the industry average.
In the months to come, Gartner is predicting better growth in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. In the third quarter of 2014, PC makers recorded sales of about 24 million units, up 9.1 per cent, compared to the same period last year. The numbers are telling, given that PC sales were falling for two years straight, until the beginning of 2014.
“The continued growth in the EMEA PC market reflects the end of official support for Windows XP and the need to replace older PCs,” said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, in a statement. However, he added PC makers may want to look at providing that market with more hybrid options, melding PCs and tablets together into one device.
“We’ve witnessed lower notebook prices and promotional offers on two-in-one hybrid devices attracting buyers back. Many tablet early-adopters are considering a hybrid two-in-one product as a viable alternative to a replacement tablet.”