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PC Sales Suffer Largest Drop Since Records Began

News   •   Apr 11, 2013 16:16 BST

  • Drop fuelled by increase in tablet and smart phone sales
  • Windows 8 proving unpopular to the home market
  • What will this mean to the IT channel?

Global PC sales declined by 14.3% in the first quarter of the year, representing the biggest fall in sales since records began in 1994. It is also the fourth quarter in a row that year in year sales of personal computers has fallen.

In total 77.6 million PC’s were sold between January and March around the world as users turned their back on Microsoft’s unpopular Windows 8 operating system and more users have turned to tablets and smart phones to browse the net.

Industry insiders are blaming the disappointing figures on the fading sales of netbooks, the small laptops that have been replaced by tablets in the marketplace. But the drop of over 14% represents a significant decline in the age of the PC and the threat posed by the more mobile options is only expected to get larger in the future.

Windows 8 was launched to try and revive PC sales by making the experience more akin to that offered by mobile platforms but has not managed to appeal to users. Jay Chou, a senior research analyst at International Data Corp, said: "Users are finding Windows 8 to offer a compromised experience that doesn't excel either as a new mobile interface or in a classic desktop interface.

"As a result, many users find a decline in the traditional PC experience without gaining much from new features like touch. The result is that many consumers are worried about upgrading to Windows 8, to say nothing of business users who are still just getting into Windows 7."

The UK IT Association believes that the decline in PC sales is the first step towards a larger problem for companies that work within the IT Channel. Not only will a decline in PC sales hit them as more users will be going online to order their new devices direct from suppliers, but it also represents a shift from owning software licensed to one device towards software-as-a-service (SaaS), where the user pays a subscription and the software can be operated from any device through the cloud.

It is an issue that the Channel operators will need to address, as support is offered directly by vendors in the SaaS model, leaving Channel distributors with both a reducing number of products they can sell and heavily reduced after-sale services that they can offer.

The IT world is always fast moving and it looks like another cataclysmic shift in the IT market is on the way.

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