Market research firm Gartner says that an increasing demand for tablets saw worldwide PC shipments drop 4.9% to 90.3 million in the fourth quarter of last year.
“Tablets have dramatically changed the device landscape for PCs, not so much by ‘cannibalizing’ PC sales, but by causing PC users to shift consumption to tablets rather than replacing older PCs,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner.
“Whereas as once we imagined a world in which individual users would have both a PC and a tablet as personal devices, we increasingly suspect that most individuals will shift consumption activity to a personal tablet, and perform creative and administrative tasks on a shared PC.
“There will be some individuals who retain both, but we believe they will be exception and not the norm. 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.”
Gartner added that the transformation was brought about by the increasing availability of compelling, low-cost tablets last year, but said that Microsoft’s Windows 8 didn’t have much of an impact in retail in the fourth quarter.
The firm said that most vendors struggled in Q4, reporting a drop in shipments from the previous year, although HP did regain top spot in the worldwide PC market on back of some Windows 8 deals over the holiday period.
Asus and Lenovo also fared reasonably well, and were the only major PC vendors to see their shipments boost increase on a yearly basis.