Tablets continue to threaten PC sales

Despite the meteoric rise of tablet devices, worldwide PC shipments totaled 93.5 million units in the fourth quarter of 2010, marking a 3.1 percent increase from Q4 2009. 

However, Gartner principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa cautioned that tablets would continue to threaten PC sales in the future.

“Overall, holiday PC sales were weak in many key regions due to the intensifying competition in consumer spending. Media tablets, such as the iPad, as well as other consumer electronic (CE) devices, such as game consoles, all competed against PCs. The bright side of the PC market during the fourth quarter of 2010 was a steady growth in the professional market driven by replacement purchases,” she explained.

“For all 2010, the results indicate the PC market recovered from the recession, as it returned to double-digit growth, compared to low single-digit growth in 2009. [Still], the PC market will face challenges going forward with more intensified competition among consumer spending.” 

Nevertheless, Kitagawa emphasized that the professional market did manage to eke out “healthy growth” during the quarter.

“Media tablets undoubtedly intensified the competition in the consumer market. [While] these devices do not replace primary PCs, they are viewed as good enough devices for these who want to have a second and third connected device for content consumption usage. 

“[So, as expected], mini-notebook shipments were hit the most by the success of media tablets.”

Meanwhile, HP continued to lead the lucrative US PC market, weighing in at 29.3 percent of shipments during Q4 2010.

Unsurprisingly, both Toshiba and Apple were the only vendors in the top 5 to increase shipments, as Toshiba’s grew 14.4 percent, while Apple’s jumped a staggering 23.7 percent.