Understanding What Is Happening to the PC Market

There have been a lot of claims about the rise of tablet sales, the decline of PC sales spelling the death of the PC. In this article, I’ll not only explain why that’s exaggerated, but also what is actually happening.

The Core Markets Are The Same

If you follow the sales of PCs, you will see how the early units were by today’s standards, very expensive in the buying power at the time they were released, while the capabilities were somewhat basic. Work, write a letter/essay, or play games.  Not really much else.

So, who bought them?  People who believed that what it did was worth what it cost.

Those were people who:

  • Believed in new technology
  • Needed it for work
  • Tinkering types who could come up with the money
  • Rich people

For clarity, in the rest of the article, I’ll refer to the list above as the Professional market and anyone else as the Consumer market.

As the price of computers fell, the format available to the Consumer market primarily were desktops and laptops.  Once the internet started to catch on, people started using it to explore and communicate with others digitally.  The Consumer market was interested generally with the cheapest machines which fulfilled their desire to:

  • Browse the web
  • Email
  • Play games
  • Consume media

The only machines available to fill that need were desktops and laptops.  Desktops for a long time were just cheaper and more reliable than laptops.

At the point that laptops really started to catch up in delivering a comparable value to desktops, shortly after, the tablet market entered.  The commoditization of cheap computers made by Apple and all the Android based vendors allowed for computers which really did everything that the consumer wanted.

As a consequence, consumers did the most natural thing.  Bought the devices which fit their needs.

Why Not Tablets For All?

In a Professional market, the need for better computers, more reliable computers, faster data entry, customization, bigger screens, exploration of technology will continually drive a path for a niche of devices not necessarily the cheapest thing that gets you on the internet and plays games.

In A Nutshell

Professionals will still need what they originally needed and keep buying it.  Consumers only needed what they needed and will keep buying appropriate devices.  PC-like devices will continue to sell as long as people continue to need them.

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