The explosive sales growth of tablets, “phablets” and smartphone has raised concerns about the future of PC sales, especially with PC sales showing declines for the past two years, according to the Gartner Group. The declines flattened out in the second quarter of this year, according to Gartner, and many were wondering which way sales would go from there. New sales numbers indicate that the PC market has started to grow again, but in interesting new directions.
A study by the NPD Group Weekly Tracking Service indicates that, from the period of July 4 through the beginning of September (roughly half the summer), sales of PC’s in the consumer retail channel have managed to increase by three percent over the previous year. This is across many retail channels, including Apple stores, online retailers and other outlets, big and small alike.
Out of those numbers, NPD’s Stephen Baker said that Apple was “one of the star performers,” with sales increasing to 16 percent over the same period in 2013.
Meanwhile, Baker also pointed out the strength of Chromebook sales, with device utilizing Chrome OS accounting for more than five percent of notebook sales overall, and nearly one in five units sold under the $300 price category.
Meanwhile, Windows PC actually show a bit of decline. Two years ago, it dominated the market with no problem, earning a share of more than 75 percent overall. Nowadays, it’s down quite a bit to 68.4 percent of the market, making more room for Apple and company. Meanwhile, Windows-based notebooks showed more of an increase, with 37 percent year over year.
Two-in-one devices are also thriving, accounting for 13 percent of all Windows compatible devices sold in the period, six times the previous year’s numbers. The same couldn’t be said for the older Windows-based clamshell notebooks, which were the clear loser thanks to aggressive pricing and solid competition from other computer manufacturers, according to Baker.
So classic PC sales are still declining, but the rise in Apple computers and Chromebook sales have more than offest this. It’s still not great news for traditional PC game publishers, but it points towards the utility of making games available through browsers whenever possible, or porting to Mac OS X. Many hold out hope that the PC situation might change with the arrival of Windows 9, which may boost the desire to upgrade an old PC. What do you think