Gartner: PC Industry Hit Its Lowest Point in History During Second Quarter

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yammerpickle2

The saturated PC market has no real reason to upgrade. Most business, and consumer apps just don't require new hardware to run acceptably. Most games are cheap console ports for the last couple of years so no real pressure to upgrade from even gamers. Also there has not been a giant step in PC power in the last couple of years. My old easily overclocked P-2600 K is really not outclassed by the latest Haswell. If there was a chip and motherboard that was a least double my computer's current performance than maybe I might bite, but based on what I'm seeing even overclocked Haswell is not putting up better benchmark scores except a few specific ones than what my machine has been doing for a long time already. I see the market eventually saturating on tablets too, but not in the immediate future.

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chop_slap

The "PC shipments" stat isn't all that useful of a stat by itself. They are essentially leaving out the entire custom PC arena. Including this data somehow, would largely change the whole story. Where I live, there are dozens upon dozens of computer shops building their own PCs and selling them.

I've been looking forward to this day for ages...what techs enjoy taking apart a Dell, Mac or HP to replace parts? Also, custom built machines can last WAAAYYY longer than the "PC shipper's" machines. My family used to buy Dell and Gateway 2000's for about 15 years, till I built them each custom machines and now everyone is happily computing along, not feeling the need to buy a new one every 2 years. A simple upgrade here and there is all that is necessary when a PC is well built.

With that being said, Samsung and Apple really have taken a mighty bite out of the big 5 PC makers' pockets. More data including Motherboard, CPUs, RAM, HDD/SSD and PC Monitors would paint a more complete picture.

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jaymz668

The mass market hasn't needed to upgrade their web browsing, emailing and word processing machine in years.
Enterprises are also pushing for VDI solutions, which by definition reduces desktop purchasing.

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Blackheart-1220

PLEASE GIVE ME A JOB TO BUY A NEW PC!!!

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PCDoc

Is this reflecting sales of major manufacturers, or across the board?

I'm a small business owner and OEM and my sales are going through the roof! This year, we've already doubled the sales we did last year, on new desktops and notebooks.

I have a sneaking suspicious, that may be happening in other places, as well. People seem to be tired of the lack of support (English speaking support, in America) and the disposable market.

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kamdigitaljapan

"I have a sneaking suspicious" that small business owners use proper grammar.

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chop_slap

PHEW! Really good catch, man. We all know that every-single-body in the world who owns a business is a perfect speller/grammatician. Thank you SO MUCH for enlightening the rest of the world of this horrendous typo!

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macmooda

What is your company called??

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Scatter

The reason that PC sales are in such a slump is because everyone already owns one and there's no reason to replace the one they own yet.

On the other hand I wouldn't be surprised if gamers are still replacing their PCs regularly but they really aren't being counted since they're probably building their own PCs and not purchasing a garbage off the shelf model.

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brigor

If these numbers were broken down by primary function or application, we might see some functional areas holding steady or even growing. And we would see some obvious functional areas declining sharply. Functions such as email, web browsing, social networking, book reading, etc. are well suited to the lower cost, smaller touch screen and mobility of tablets and smartphones. So it is natural there would be a major migration of those functions to those devices.

But do we really see a decline in "PC" shipments to audio studios, research labs, graphic designers, architects, etc.? I would doubt it.

And if tablets and smartphones are now being used for functions formerly done by laptops or desktops, don't they qualify as "PCs" as well? How narrow is the definition of "PC" anyway?

Put another way, comparing PCs to car sales, is this really a decline in "car" sales, or is it more like a drop in full-size sedans and an increase in compacts?

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AFDozerman

Why are they only looking at OEM shipments? What are the actual desktop part shipment numbers coming out of Intel, Nvidia, and AMD? (Okay, maybe not AMD, but you get the picture)

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jgottberg

I know everyone here wants to pound their chests and say that they don't take into account DIY'ers but the reality is that DIY'ers (like ourselves) represent an extremely small number of total PC sales and almost impossible to track.

For instance, if a processor is sold, it doesn't mean they are building a PC with it. Perhaps the one they had fried and they just need a replacement. That wouldn't count as a PC shipment.

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AFDozerman

I'm not really even talking about DIYers. Think about companies like digital storm and the like that were probably too small to be counted but still sell millions of PCs every year. As a matter of fact, where I am from originally, there is a company called Howard industries. Their IT department actually builds all of their workstations and sells a few, too. I think that they produce a couple thousand. I know they can't be the only company that does this.

Don't get me wrong, the total ownership IS in decline, but I highly doubt it is as dire as it's being made out to be. We're just in a transitional phase where the future is made up of the power users and pros.

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AFDozerman

DP

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Xenite

Wrong, that's simply not true at all. PC component sales have been growing at a fast rate. Discrete video cards, high end main boards and other components and been seeing the largest gains in the industry.

DIY isn't 40 year old guys sitting in the garage anymore, you have young teens building systems and never going back to large distributors like Dell.

My first system a 386sx was a Packard Bell, I haven't bought a system since, I've built every single one. I guided my wife in building her gaming rig and I also built my mother-in-laws.

Family's are simply no longer buying crappy wal-mart computers.

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macmooda

You are completely correct. PC parts sales for 2012 was I believe 40 billion dollars. I am pretty sure that I read that here on MaximumPC.

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Sir Hobbes3

Yeah, totally agree. While the group of people building their own computers is relatively small, there are more and more doing it like me. I'm 15 btw and i've built my own gaming rig and my dad's desktop. The only PC i might actually end up having to buy is a laptop because they are much more of a niche thing to build.

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jgottberg

I didn't say PC component sales were down. I'm saying that you can't count a PC component as a "PC Shipment" - There really isn't a reliable way to track that. You think retail stores are going to keep track of the components you buy and assume you are building a PC? I don't think so...

Use the analogy of kit car that auto enthusiasts build. They have the same mindset we do. They can build it better and with the parts THEY want. But just because an engine is sold, it doesn't mean that someone is building a car. Perhaps their engine failed and they needed a replacement.

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AFDozerman

Okay. I smell what you're stepping in now...

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jgottberg

lol, I'm not sure how to take that :)

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AFDozerman

Okay. I smell what you're stepping in now...

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macmooda

Of course they keep track of that stuff, that is how they now what to keep in stock.

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jgottberg

I don't think you understand... Of course a store keeps tracks of what they sell but they don't correlate that to a complete PC build. How would they know what someone intends to do with a part once they buy it?

Unless something (anything) is bought as a whole, how do you know it was a sale?

If I buy bread, does that mean I'm making a sammich? Maybe I'm making French toast?

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xRadeon

Don't worry jgottberg, I understand what you're saying and agree with you. There is just no way to track individual components to a 'computer' sale. :)

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jgottberg

Phew, I was beginning to question my sanity... again :)

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Refuge88

I find I purchase alot more AMD parts than I do Intel these days. My customers just simply can't afford them, and honestly don't need the extra oompf.

Then again most of my customers are just web browsers and word processors. Or want a cheap HTPC.

Sometimes I get an order for a good gaming computer, but not often.

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AFDozerman

I wasn't ragging on AMD at all, I just know that they're a smaller player in the game than the other two, at least in CPUs. They're still a great company that I use almost exclusively.

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lfd1351

agreed their biggest flaw is not looking at the part sales. The other thing is they are building computers that are better and last longer.

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pastorbob

+1 to AFDozerman, Refuge88 and lfd1351.

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AFDozerman

Why are they only looking at OEM shipments? What are the actual desktop part shipment numbers coming out of Intel, Nvidia, and AMD? (Okay, maybe not AMD, but you get the picture)

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Polious

Its no secret that gamers drive the PC market, but gamers aren't buying DELL, HP and so on because its all custom now. If you want power and performance you either build it yourself or a custom pc builder.

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pastorbob

I agree. In 30+ years of using personal computers I've bought only three factory made desktops. All others at home, for friends/family and on the job I have built myself.

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wumpus

All custom now? The last time it made sense to buy non-custom was sometime in the 1980s.

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Refuge88

Agreed, I've been building since the early 90's when I was a child, its always been custom the whole way.

I've never not been able to atleast match the value of an OEM build, and always had the added benefit of easy and cost effective expansion in the future.

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Alpha-Zulu

How is this "news"? We've known this for a long time now and I find it very hard to believe the PC market will ever get back to where it was before tablets/smartphones were introduced.

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mh15216

The decline in PC sales could be most simply explained as "tablets and smartphones." (end story)

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wumpus

There was a slight decrease in phone profits recently, presumably meaning that the market is saturating and that most who had "feature phones" who could possibly want smart phones already have them. These articles should get slightly more useful (if less sensational) as they compete on more level ground.

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Random

I wonder if Windows 8 is partly responsible for this decline in PC sales.

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xRadeon

It's possible, but at the same time Apple is reporting lower sales while Lenovo was one of the few companies reporting an increase in sales. And as far as I know, Lenovo sales Windows 8 and Apple doesn't. So, you can take whatever from that. :)
http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2544115
Look at Table 2 Preliminary U.S. PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2Q13 (Units).

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wumpus

Can't you still buy win7? The disaster that is win8 is that it should be driving higher sales, instead of showing that tablets are the future and selling android and ios tablets.

No, having a start button that takes over the entire screen of a modern to show what fit on 1/4 of a 1024x768 screen is not made for a desktop. If I wanted such a screen, I would be using android. Instead, I'll stick to KDE, thank you very much.

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devin3627

wired xbox 360 controller plugs into my xbox 360 and my pc. :)