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Consumer PC Sales Slowdown As iPad Gains Momentum

by on February 23rd, 2011

When the iPad launched in 2010, one of the major fears in the industry was the amount of share the iPad would take from the PC market.

What was originally expected to occur over the next several years is actually happening right now. The iPad is slowing down growth in the consumer PC industry.

If this sounds too crazy to be true for you, check out the data reported by Business Insider:

  • HP: consumer PC revenue down 12% from last year in the quarter ended January 31, 2011. In contrast, sales of PCs to businesses were up 11%. (Full earnings coverage here.)
  • Microsoft: revenue from sales of Windows on new PCs up 3% from last year in the last quarter of 2010. Microsoft doesn’t break out consumer versus business sales, but said on its earnings call that the business PC refresh cycle — not consumers — is driving growth in Windows. Microsoft also admitted that sales of netbooks — the small cheap computers that were popular in 2008 and 2009 among consumers — were down from last year. (If you’re keeping score, that 3% is an adjusted number; an accounting quirk around the launch of Windows 7 raised revenue artificially at the end of 2009.)
  • Dell: consumer revenue down 8% from last year in the last quarter of 2010. The company did fine, though, selling to large enterprises and businesses.

So could these PC market numbers be slowing down due to economic trends? Or are buyers watching their spending more closely? Nope and nope. In respect to the data above, let’s take a look at Apple’s numbers:

  • Apple: sold 7.3 million iPads (which didn’t exist last year) and Mac unit sales were up 23% in the last quarter of 2010.

As reported by Dell during the company’s earnings call, part of the PC slowdown seen above was due to the Windows 7 launch last year. The new OS drove new PC sales and unfortunately, it seems that it is only when a new Microsoft OS is released that PC sales hit a spike.

In the past, aside from the much higher priced Mac, Microsoft did not have much competition in the consumer PC market between Windows OS releases. But now, with the iPad, each person that purchases an iPad is probably less likely to purchase a new Windows PC when a new version of Windows OS is released.

In other words, the consumer PC cycle is being disrupted, and it’s all thanks to the iPad!

[Business Insider]

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