IHS iSuppli: iPad Sales Starting to Cut into PC Sales

Paul Lilly

You can take our decked out desktop PC when you pry it from our cold, dead hands, but until then, we'll continue to play Crysis (yes, our PCs can run Crysis), burn Blu-ray discs, transfer files via USB, and watch Flash videos. You know, all the things we can't do on an iPad. Why bother bringing this up? Well, we wanted to preface what market research firm IHS iSuppli is saying , which is that rising consumer interest in tablets like the iPad is starting to take a toll on the global PC market.

We won't say that IHS iSuppli is making a mountain out of a mole hill, we'll just imply it by pointing out that a 0.3 percent decline in unit shipments is not cause for panic. You see, IHS iSuppli says worldwide PC shipments amounted to 81.3 million units in the first quarter of 2011, down from 81.6 million during the first quarter of 2010. Stagnant? Sure. A sign that tablets are taking over? IHS iSuppli seems to think so.

"The increasing momentum of the media tablet market, led by the iPad, is creating a difficult environment for the PC industry," said Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst for compute platforms research at IHS. "All the attention surrounding tablets contributed to weak consumer demand for PCs in the first quarter."

IHS iSuppli follows this up by saying corporate PC demand was strong, though not enough to offest the decline in consumer sales.  Again, we're only talking about a 0.3 percent dip from one year ago.

We have no doubt the iPad and other tablets managed to poach some would-be netbook customers, and we're not hating on tablets in any way. But as far as replacing PCs in general, it's just not going to happen. As IHS iSuppli admits, the PC market is coming off its best quarter ever having shipped 93.1 million units in Q4 2010. The previous high was 88.9 million units set in Q4 2009.

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