Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Slower PC Sales as Buyers Stay Mobile

Sales of desktop computers and laptops actually dropped in 2015 as consumers and business buyers continued their migration toward mobile devices like smartphones and tablet computers.

Projections had previously indicated this trend would gain traction in 2015. Another reason for lower PC sales is that buyers are holding onto their equipment longer than in the past.

Above, IDC's chart of how the top five PC companies were doing in terms of market share, quarter by quarter from 4Q 2014 through 4Q 2015.

IDC also said there was growth, but only single-digit increases, in smartphone sales around the world during 2015. Still, the iPhone is also a worldwide winner, with many brand fans in China boosting Apple's sales in that market.

Even tablet computer sales weren't blazing hot, in part because of product line proliferation--meaning more choices, such as detachable tablets, hybrids, and larger smartphones that, in essence, double as mini-tablets. Decisions about which operating system to choose--Apple's iOS, Android, Windows, etc--complicate the buying process for many consumers and businesses.

When consumers buy fewer digital gadgets, retailers feel the fallout. H.H. Gregg, for instance, saw holiday revenues drop compared with the previous year, due to lower PC and tablet sales. Suppliers of accessories (such as cases, power cords, etc.) also feel the fallout, although they still attract buyers who need replacements for existing equipment.

If you're writing a marketing plan for a company that supplies this industry or a reseller that stocks such products, consider the trends and likely impact on your marketing situation for 2016 and beyond.

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