Gartner: Weak fourth quarter for PC sales suggests rising demand for tablets

Consumers’ electronics consumption habits are changing, as more now appear to prefer mobile devices to traditional desktop PCs. That was evidenced in a recent report from research firm Gartner, which found that the market for PCs worldwide declined in the fourth quarter of 2012, a time of year during which many retailers may have expected sales to increase in the lead-up to the holiday season.

Gartner estimated global PC shipments at around 90 million units from October to December, down 4.9 percent from the 95 million units shipped during the same time period one year earlier. Among major manufacturers, Dell suffered the most, with shipments declining nearly 21 percent on an annual basis. Acer Group also experienced a double-digit decline (11 percent), while Lenovo saw the sharpest annual increase at 8.2 percent.

Analysts said they expect that moving forward, the market for tablets will begin to absorb consumers who would have been interested in PCs.

“There will be some individuals who retain both [tablets and PCs], but we believe they will be exception and not the norm,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. “Therefore, we hypothesize that buyers will not replace secondary PCs in the household, instead allowing them to age out and shifting consumption to a tablet.”

IT executives at companies around the country have likely noticed the rising use of tablet technology in the workplace – if not by sight, then surely if they pay close attention to their network usage. The increasing prevalence‚Äč ofmobile technology in the workplace challenges under-prepared wireless networks, making it critical for businesses to seek the support of IT consultants who understand how to build WiFi capabilities that are able to sustain the additional pressure.