The End of the Home Computer: Why PC Sales Are Collapsing

Worldwide PC sales saw a record drop this quarter, as consumers turn to tablets for their entertainment needs.

Now this is what an industry looks like when it goes into free-fall.

Market research firm IDC reported yesterday that worldwide personal computers had their sharpest drop ever for a single quarter, plummeting nearly 14 percent compared to the first three months of 2012. Among the big players, only one company, Lenovo, shipped as many units as last year. The carnage was worst for HP, which saw its PC sales tumble 23 percent, and ACER, which suffered a 31.3 drop. But as AllThingsD notes, not even Apple escaped unscathed. Its Mac sales slowed 7.5 percent in North America, its top market. 

For the past couple years, the tech press has been talking about the end of the PC era. But that hasn't quite described the situation. Rather, during the onset of the smartphone and tablet boom, PC sales stayed mostly flat. But now, we've seen a full four quarters of year-on-year declines that seem to be accelerating.

Is this the beginning of the end for PCs? Are we entering a time where standalone monitors, vertical towers, and even super slim laptops will be forever cosigned to some dusty corner of the Smithsonian? Well, not quite yet. As Business Insider has argued, what we're actually seeing is the "death of the home PC." Consumers like their tablets for entertainment, but they still much prefer their computers for work. So while the market might be in free-fall, don't expect it to crash all the way into the ground. 

Presented by

Jordan Weissmann is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic.

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. Who cares about youth? James Hamblin turns to his colleague Jeffrey Goldberg for advice.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. James Hamblin turns to a colleague for advice.

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Video

Pittsburgh: 'Better Than You Thought'

How Steel City became a bikeable, walkable paradise

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

More in Business

Just In