Tablets Are Displacing Personal Computers with Consumers

tablet research

Customer interaction and payments to your website are more and more likely to be taking place from a tablet or other mobile device.

A continued decline in the number of PCs being shipped and presumably bought worldwide shows that tablets are displacing them with consumers, especially in emerging markets.

What the Numbers Say

A recent report from Gartner Inc. shows a 10.9 percent decline in PC shipments in the second quarter of 2013. It is the fifth consecutive quarter of decline, the longest sustained decrease in shipments in the industry’s history.

Meanwhile, a separate report from International Data Corporation suggests an even more precipitous drop in PC shipments for the second quarter of about 11.7 percent. But IDC insists total shipment were actually higher than projected.

What This Means

This doesn’t mean small business owners will necessarily be using tablets instead of PCs to operate their businesses. But it could mean that most of your customers especially outside the U.S. might be mobile.

In a prepared release, Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner explained:

We are seeing the PC market reduction directly tied to the shrinking installed base of PCs, as inexpensive tablets displace the low-end machines used primarily for consumption in mature and developed markets. In emerging markets, inexpensive tablets have become the first computing device for many people, who at best are deferring the purchase of a PC. This is also accounting for the collapse of the mini notebook market.

At the same time, tablet shipments have seen a sustained increase, going from 18.7 million in the first quarter of 2012 to 40.6 million in the first quarter of 2013.

Sales generated from mobile marketing continue to increase as well. For example, in the U.S. alone, those sales are expected to increase by 52 percent by 2015 to an estimated $400 billion.

Small business owners must make sure their websites are mobile and able to take mobile payments to prepare for this growing demand.

Tablet Consumer Photo via Shutterstock


Shawn Hessinger Shawn Hessinger is the Executive Editor for Small Business Trends and a professional journalist with more than 20 years experience in traditional and digital media for trade publications and news sites. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has served as a beat reporter, columnist, editorial writer, bureau chief and managing editor for the Berks Mont Newspapers.

6 Reactions
  1. I doubt that the PC will completely go away. Mobile devices are great for consuming content. They are not so great for generating content.

  2. Shawn Hessinger

    Hi Jon,
    Two things to remember here. First, analysts are suggesting this definitely has to do with the consumer market not necessarily business use (though use of tablet is certainly up among businesses.) Second, the largest growth in tablets, according to Kitagawa, appear to be in developing markets where they are being bought in place of PCs.

  3. Interesting numbers Shawn. Yes, tablets are very popular today because of the advantages they offer, mainly mobility and the freedom to access anything from anywhere. But they can’t replace PCs, especially for business owners like me, but yes getting your website mobile is the need of the day.

  4. I agree, I do not believe the tablet can replace the PC at this point. The tablet is popular because it’s very user friendly, but it lacks the technical aspects of the PC. Many companies are developing their own apps, but I feel that is just to get full efficiency out of their market not because tablets are completely replacing the PC.

  5. Hi Shawn,

    I would imagine on the consumer side, tablets and small screens will simply take over. Heck, my youngest son does just about everything on his smart phone, including watching movies … way too small for my eyes … for extended periods of time, that is. Now when it comes to B2B, desktop computers and laptops aren’t going anywhere 😉

  6. Traditional computer use would come to an end as we proceed to the modern era. Tablets definitely take up less space and are ideal for entertainment than any personal computer. But one thing is for sure and that is in offices desktop and laptops will still be used because people are more used to it in workplaces than at home.

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