Is the PC Dead? Reports Suggest Comeback in 2015

Brandon Dimmel's picture

A new report suggests that the personal computer may be on the verge of making a comeback. The report comes from industry analysts Gartner and IDC, which state that there was only a slight drop in demand for personal computers during the third quarter of 2014.

While those figures don't sound too impressive, the outcome is quite startling when considering the trend over the last three years. Since 2011, PC sales have been steadily declining. Some experts went so far as to suggest that we were witnessing the 'death of the PC', with consumers opting for mobile devices -- like smartphones and tablets -- instead of laptops and desktops.

PC Sales Stay Steady, in Spite of Predictions

Based on recent data, however, the grisly end to the personal computer no longer seems likely.

IDC says PC shipments were 78.5 million units in the third quarter, representing a year-over-year decline of about 1.7 per cent. That's significant because IDC had initially predicted a decline of 4.1 per cent. Meanwhile, Gartner's numbers suggest the PC sales drop was only 0.5 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Gartner adds that the world's five biggest PC manufacturers, including Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Dell, Acer, and Asus, saw sales grow or remain steady in the third quarter. It was the world's other, small PC makers, such as Samsung and Toshiba, which saw sales decline more substantially.

IDC senior research analyst Jay Chou says the turnaround has a lot to do with declining PC prices. "PCs have come closer to tablets in prices," Chu said. "For the time being, I'm seeing good consumer demand, but it is based on price." (Source:

PC Sales to Jump Five Per Cent in 2015: Report

In a separate report, research firm Strategy Analytics suggests next year will actually see PC sales jump by five per cent. The main reason appears to be that people will stop clinging to old PCs and replace them with newer devices.

Strategy Analytics also says that many people are realizing that PCs are "essential computing devices" that can't be replaced by less powerful smartphones and tablet computers. In fact, Strategy Analytics says 90 per cent of U.S. households frequently use PCs, with only 32 per cent of households frequently using tablet computers. The firm defines frequent usage as "at least once weekly." (Source:

"PCs will remain essential devices as households eventually replace their primary PCs used for productivity tasks such as spreadsheet and video editing or personal banking," Strategy Analytics said in its report.

What's Your Opinion?

Are you getting ready to buy a new PC? If so, what's motivating your purchase? Do you believe PCs are more "essential" than tablets or smartphones? Do you believe PC sales will actually jump by five per cent next year?

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Dennis Faas's picture

The PC is still alive and there's lots of people still using them. However, I believe that the PC market is currently dead - or at least, in need of a major resuscitation.

We are currently generating 1/10th of our ad revenue compared to 3 years ago (based on ads seen through Google). I don't remember the last time I saw an ad for Intel, HP, Dell, or IBM through Google. If that doesn't spell "death", I don't know what does. The story is similar for the PC software industry - PC software has more or less been replaced by "apps" on smartphones and cloud-based subscriptions.

Pricing for PCs have remained high and there's been little innovation. Tablets and smartphones however have had major innovation in the last few years. Many people that once used PCs to check their emails and surf the web are now doing it on smartphones or tablets. It's undeniably convenient to pull out a smartphone and look something up at a moment's notice (rather than sit in front of a computer to do the same).

That said, I don't see PCs going away in the corporate environment any time soon. But, perhaps one day the smartphone will be as powerful as the PC and people will simply plug in a keyboard, mouse and monitor into them and use them like PCs.

LouisianaJoe's picture

I think that it depends on how it is used. Businesses are not going to do data entry on a smartphone. There are still a lot of users that need a keyboard and a larger display. There is a increase in web based apps but they do not have ability to be customized to the users needs like PC based programs.