The Dwindling PC Market

It’s not secret that the personal computer (PC) market isn’t doing so well:

According to research firm IDC, things are not looking great for the PC industry. The firm says that PC sales saw “the steepest decline ever in a single quarter” this year (excluding tablets and notebooks with a removable screen or keyboard), down 13.9 percent to 76.3 million from the same quarter last year. If you’ll recall, thats more than double the loss the industry experienced in the fourth quarter of 2012, which saw a 6.4 percent decline. Back in January, IDC noted that sales declined year-to-year during the holiday season the first time in more than five years. Today’s newly reported results from IDC mark the fourth consecutive quarter that PC shipments have fallen.

Everybody in the industry is scrambling to find the culprit. Some analysts are blaming Windows 8 while others are blaming the popularity of mobile phones and tablets. What few analysts appear to be looking at is the bloody obvious. Most people I know have a computer that is several years old. Hell, I purchased my last desktop in August of 2006. While I did recently upgraded to a new MacBook Pro the only reason I did so was because my old laptop’s memory controller was failing and replacing that (which means replacing the motherboard) was expensive enough to make a new laptop seem like a smarter way to go. In fact I don’t know a single person who has recently upgraded their computer. Why? Because the current system they’re running is good enough.

Herein lies the secret to the declining PC market, most people who want a computer already have one and have little reason to upgrade until their system dies. Modern computers are powerful enough to serve the needs of most users. Who needs an Intel i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and a blazing fast graphics card for reading e-mail and looking at Facebook? Nobody, that’s who. The PC market is saturated. People aren’t upgrading as frequently because they don’t need to. The people who are upgrading are usually replacing machines that are so old that they’ve finally broken or are too slow to perform some task or another.

Computers are tools and so long as a tool gets the job done in a satisfactory manner most people aren’t motivated to replace it with something newer. It’s as simple as that.

One thought on “The Dwindling PC Market”

  1. Yeah I built my computer 2 years and change ago and in all of that time I have upgraded exactly 2 things added a case fan to improve the thermals and went ahead and upgraded to 16gb RAM but that was a marginal upgrade at best and unnecessary, I don’t see a need even on the gaming front to replace for at least 2 more calendar years, unless some major innovation happens.

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