Gartner: Slowing PC sales show users using tablets for secondary devices

Last week, IDC reported that, according to their information, PC shipments worldwide were down for the fourth quarter of 2012. Today, rival research firm Gartner released its own PC shipment numbers, and they agree with IDC that there was a significant slowdown in the PC industry in the last quarter of 2012.

Gartner's press release states that 90.3 million PC units shipped between September and December of 2012, which is down 4.9 percent from the same period a year ago. Gartner said that the launch of Windows 8 in late October did not do enough to boost PC sales. It believes the launch of Windows 8 was hurt in part by "somewhat lackluster form factors" from PC makers which "missed the excitement of touch."

Gartner believes that consumers are in fact beginning to change their buying habits when it comes to purchasing new PCs, and that's thanks to the presence of cheap tablets. Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, states:

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.

Kitagawa added that Gartner believes people who own secondary PCs will replace them with tablets rather than with a new PC. HP was the world's biggest PC maker for the fourth quarter of 2012, with 16.2 percent of the market. Lenovo was close behind with 15.5 percent and Dell comes in third with 10.2 percent.

Source: Gartner | Image via Gartner

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If you bought a Windows 7 pc in the past year or 2, there is no real reason to buy a new PC now. Both Windows 7 new and Windows 8 PC's are using the same hardware other than touch screens added. I certainly wont be buying a new PC, though I am awaiting the Surface Pro. In which I plan to sell my desktop hopefully. My 2.5 year old laptop that came with Windows 7 is running Windows 8 just fine. Why waste money. I spent $40 on Windows 8. Not going to spend $800 of a new PC just to get a newer case.

TechieXP - that's something I've been saying since the Windows 8 *Developer Preview*; all the Consumer and Release Previews - and even the RTM - have done is drive home the unchanged hardware metric with a jackhammer. My current Windows 8 desktop has a CPU three generations dead (Intel Q6600 - the original Intel quad-core) and a GPU two generations dead (AMD HD5450 - a notebook GPU in desktop clothing) - yet it runs Windows 8 with far greater ease than it did Windows 7. There are OEM PCs out there of the same age a-plenty (remember, Dell and HP shipped a large number of Q6600-driven Inspirons, Dimensions, and Pavilions (both Slimline and Elite, in addition to Media Center in the case of the Pavilions) running both XP and Vista; at worst, swap GPU and power supply, then upgrade the OS. These mass-shipped quads mostly came with 6 GB or 8 GB, albeit DDR2 - I have but 4 GB. They have PCI Express slots (either occupied or empty) for graphics. That $300 upgrade cost includes a new power supply of at least 500W, a midrange GPU, a full-ATX case, and Windows 8 Pro x64 Upgrade - still less than a completely new OEM PC. And you have far less to have to worry about in terms of dealing with recycling regulations.)

Tablets have blown up, but PC buyers/users/enthusiasts needn't worry
Each have their own advantages and drawbacks, I have a tablet as a secondary device, and I love it to check email, and one or 2 other uses on the fly, and it saves time booting up my pc, but I prefer the comfort of sitting at my pc desk if I need to compose emails or play games or run my media centre... for example

I'm sure most of you all do the same

All these cycles will slow because many won't be buying every single year. I've had 5 phones in the past 2 years because I wanted better performance, now my S3 is good enough to where I don't want anything more. I've built a PC, bought a Nexus 10 and still have 4 laptops laying around. I have no need to buy 7, 8 or anything else for some time.

W9 will arrive just when I want new PC hardware. People will still be buying but the cycles will just be a little longer...especially with more cloud based computing.

No it is a sign that people who consume content now use mostly a tablet whereas someone who creates content uses a laptop & externds to External monitor/desktop

Or may be because a customer buys a PC once ever 3 - 5 years (if not more). Instead, some people is purchasing a brand new tablet every year and it is insane.
Also, what's killing the PC is notebook and not a tablet.

I know people buying tablets every year for multiple members of the family whereas in the past they only had one or maybe two PCs (laptops) in the home for everyone.

edit: Wanted to also add that the 3-5 years is likely way more. I have people come to me with computer problems with PCs that are up to and over 10 years old. I've pretty much drawn my line in the sand with Pentium 4s for instance on the Intel side. If you think that it nuts, head on over to a site like TigerDirect and take note that they are still selling refurbished Dell GX520 for about $200 max which are P4 CPU units.

So, is there an increase in the selling of tablets , or "touch related" device ?
Seems easy to blame pc makers for the "failure" of win8

this confirms windows 7 is even more irrelevant and why windows 8 is the future. tablets are it and windows 7 stinks for tablets.

neonspark said,
this confirms windows 7 is even more irrelevant and why windows 8 is the future. tablets are it and windows 7 stinks for tablets.

Because windows 8 desktop is for tablet /s

neonspark said,
this confirms windows 7 is even more irrelevant and why windows 8 is the future. tablets are it and windows 7 stinks for tablets.

This just in, Windows XP still more popular than Windows 8.

Windows 8 is for desktops AND tablets - however, you don't need to buy new HARDWARE if your desktop is already running Windows 7 (or, in most cases, even Vista).
Here is something the *OEM Windows 8 desktops aren't selling* crowd are missing - the hardware requirements for Windows 8 vs. the hardware requirements for Windows 7 are unchanged. Not merely significantly unchanged, but completely unchanged. Therefore, if you have a desktop that is running Windows 7 - whether you like Windows 7 or not - why WOULD you buy a completely new desktop running Windows 8? (If you want to replace Windows 7 with Windows 8, it's software - and a heck of a lot cheaper than buying a completely new PC, which is quite sensible in a still-largely crappy economy. If you love Windows 7 and want to keep it, you do nothing - also quite simple enough, considering Windows 7 will be around until 2020 at least. Either way, users win and OEMs lose.) There has to be a reason for users to buy a new PC - regardless of WHAT OS is on it. (In the past year, among family and friends, a grand total of ONE OEM desktop - a Vizio bigger-screen AIO running Windows 8 Pro with Media Center - got bought. However, it replaced an old - as in XP-old - refurbbed DELL Dimension. The OEM PCs that get bought will mostly replace this sort of second-user/third-user desktops.) If you have anything newer, it's far easier to simply upgrade the OS.