Friday, April 13, 2012

"Post-PC" Era Doesn't Slow PC Sales, Data Shows

Global tablet sales to end users are forecast to total 118.9 million units in 2012, a 98 percent increase from 2011 sales of 60 million units, according to researchers at Gartner. At the same time, it appears that traditional PC sales also have grown. .

PC shipments worldwide, expected to grow 4.4 percent in 2012, will grow 10 percent in 2013, according to Gartner. That is a bit of a surprise, with all the attention now focused on tablet sales.

In the first quarter of 2012, PC shipments climbed nearly two percent to 89 million units, thogh analysts had predicted a 1.2 percent drop. Those figures might suggest that tablets and PCs now are distinct products in the marketplace. Though substitution will occur in some cases, much as smart phones displace PCs in some cases, all the products will develop specific niches in the computing appliance market, one might argue.

Apple's iOS continues to be the dominant media tablet operating system, as it is projected to account for 61.4 percent of worldwide media tablet sales to end users in 2012, with Android-powered units representing about 32 percent of sales, Gartner says. By 2016, some 369 million tablets will be sold, Gartner estimates.

By way of contrast, IDC predicts that PC shipments will climb from 353.3 million to more than 500 million in 2016. However, the bulk of the growth will come from "emerging markets" not "mature markets", and from portable PCs rather than desktops, IDC forecasts.

In fact, IDC predicts that shipments of portable PCs in "emerging markets" will almost double from 110.0 million in 2011 to 214.7 million in 2016.

One might therefore infer that tablets will represent about 25 percent of “PC” sales in 2012. By 2016, one might argue, tablets will represent 42 percent of “PC” sales.

"Despite PC vendors and phone manufacturers wanting a piece of the pie and launching themselves into the media tablet market, so far, we have seen very limited success outside of Apple with its iPad," said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner.

"As vendors struggled to compete on price and differentiate enough on either the hardware or ecosystem, inventories were built and only 60 million units actually reached the hands of consumers across the world. The situation has not improved in early 2012, when the arrival of the new iPad has reset the benchmark for the product to beat."

   Global Tablet Sales  to End Users (Thousands of Units)

OS
2011
2012
2013
2016
iOS
39,998
72,988
99,553
169,652
Android
17,292
37,878
61,684
137,657
Microsoft
0
4,863
14,547
43,648
QNX
807
2,643
6,036
17,836
Other Operating Systems
1,919
510
637
464
Total Market
60,017
118,883
182,457
369,258
Source: Gartner (April 2012)

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