Everybody keeps saying that the PC is “dead” and that the new age of tablets is upon us. But there are some voices that say a tablet is still a computer. According to market research firm Canalys, PC shipments were up 18% in Q4 of 2014 as tablets have reached almost 50% of the total PC market. However, if we don’t refer to tablets as PCs, then overall shipments have declined 6.9% year-on-year. The chart from below compares overall PC shipments, including tablets from Q4 2012 until Q4 2013.

pc vs tablet shipmentsAccording to Canalys’ data, tablets have grown 65.2% year-on-year to reach 76.3 million units, which represents 48.3% of the total PC market. So, if tablets are taken into account, it comes as no surprise that Apple is PC market leader, having shipped 30.9 million units, which represents a 19.5% share of the market. Cupertino has announced at its latest conference call that it has shipped a new record number of 26.0 million iPads, representing 84.3% of its total PC shipments in Q4. The the launch of the latest iPad Air and iPad mini has helped Apple increase its worldwide share of the tablet market from 27.3% to 34.1%.

Lenovo is on the second place, having secured an 11.8% share in Q4, despite the decline in shipments in its home-turf China; and registering an overall increase in PC shipments of 25.5% year-on-year. Now that Lenovo has acquired Motorola from Google, it will have an even bigger presence in the smartphone market, as well.

Samsung, the company that seems to be everywhere in consumer electronics, has managed to maintain its steady growth, taking the third place and shipping an overall amount of 18.2 million PC units. Out of this amount, tablets accounted for 79.7% of its Q4 numbers, with 14.5 million units, almost double from the same period in 2012. In the tablet market, Samsung is on the second place after Apple and the two vendors are obvious leaders, having a combined 53.2% share of total tablet shipments.

Interest in Google’s Chromebook devices is rising

Windows XP support will end in April and this will force especially commercial consumers to orient themselves towards new PC acquisitions. However, it seems that Windows 8 will not be a major beneficiary as many will choose to move Windows 7, which has a more “familiar” interface. Pin Chen Tang, Research Analyst at Canalys sees Google as the biggest winner, thanks to its mobile Android OS and the Chrome OS devices.

Consumers are becoming more open to Windows alternatives, and Google’s low-cost options are reaping the rewards. Android is now the most popular OS in the tablet segment and PC vendors are showing a keen interest in Chromebooks, which are carving out a niche, especially in the education sector.

What do you think will happen this year? Can Microsoft manage to give new life to Windows 8 under the helm of the recently appointed Satya Nadella or not?

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3 thoughts on “PC Market Continues to Shrink as Tablets Eat up its Market Share in Q4 2013

  1. Even tablet has almost all functions of a PC but the user experience and operations are different. Tablet can only support a single user interface at a time. While a traditional PC can handle multiple windows and switch between applications. Tablet mainly uses fingers to input and control while PC is using mouse and keyboard.

    In short, to call tablet as PC, the tablet must have multiple windows and control by keyboard and mouse.

    • @saukamwong:disqus I’m not really disputing your take, but just trying to understand why firms like Canalys have started grouping tablets with PCs, you know, this wasn’t the case couple of years back.
      1. Tablets here include Windows 8 tablets which can do almost everything a traditional PC can.
      2. iOS and Android tablets does multi-task, albeit not in the way Windows that. That isn’t enough to brand them non-PCs. In general, for most people, tablets have started to replace PCs, simply for the reason that they can get their day-to-day work (email, web browsing, chatting, video calling, documenting etc) done with tablets itself. Yes, they still won’t replace PCs for professional, high-intensity jobs like Photoshop, video editing etc., but they are now considered as ‘niche’ usecases

      • I have a hard enough time convincing people that tablets are not PCs without the industry grouping them. As a web developer it’s very frustrating to tell someone that not everything that works on a PC will work on a tablet. Even worst is that detection of devices is getting harder and harder. Now before all the, fresh out of college, propeller heads tell me that “every site should work on all devices”, I work in the real world where companies pay real money for real profits. The industry I work in does live HD video. It’s a support nightmare when someone complains that the SSL cert doesn’t work or the player doesn’t detect right because they have 1.13.005 instead of 1.13.003 and the user agent changed. Tablets are not PCs and unless they produce miniature (fully compatible) CPUs for tablet devices and use standard PC OSs they will never be.

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