Gartner Cuts PC Sales Forecast, Blames Tablets

Instead of the initial forecast of 417 million PCs, Gartner now estimates 2011 unit sales to be in the 388 million range.

The primary reason is apparently a major slowdown in notebook sales. Instead of the 40% growth rates we have seen over the past few years, notebook shipments may only climb by about 10% this year, Gartner said. The reason for that slowdown, according to the market research firm, is that consumers could be delaying new notebook purchases and spend their money on media tablets instead. Gartner expects 54.8 million tablets to be sold this year, up from 19.5 million in 2010.

“We expect growing consumer enthusiasm for mobile PC alternatives, such as the iPad and other media tablets, to dramatically slow home mobile PC sales, especially in mature markets,” said George Shiffler, research director at Gartner. “We once thought that mobile PC growth would continue to be sustained by consumers buying second and third mobile PCs as personal devices. However, we now believe that consumers are not only likely to forgo additional mobile PC buys but are also likely to extend the lifetimes of the mobile PCs they retain as they adopt media tablets and other mobile PC alternatives as their primary mobile device."

There is the obvious question how this trend, if the estimate is somewhat accurate, will affect especially Intel as the company's growth heavily relied on notebook processor sales in the past. We get the sense that the company is still betting on notebook processors as a growth engine, but it is clear that the overall opportunity for increased chip shipments - which is the fundamental business approach of Intel - may be in smartphones and tablets these days.

  • fyasko
    notebooks will benefit from the hardware push caused by tablets and other mobile devices. notebooks will never go away, they are the best option for all computing needs. with more die shrinks, and SSD prices dropping the notebooks will start to gobble up the PC tower segment. if a notebook were available now with gtx460 and i72600k performance for 1000$ i'm in..
  • joytech22
    To be honest Desktop and Laptop PC's have been around for a long time, people are looking for new ways to take their work and playtime with them without the need to lug around either a desktop or a laptop.

    Tablets are ideal because with today's technology most tablet's out there have enough power to do pretty much all tasks that a standard person might need, like office documentation, wireless internet and multimedia.

    Iv'e been looking to get something other than a PC upgrade this year, and instead have my eye on the tablet market, well.. I'm still keeping my eye out for Bulldozer.
  • applegetsmelaid
    Tablets changed my life! If it weren't for the iPad I would still be a virgin.
  • James296
    I will still have a desktop for my large data storage needs or high demanding games but I will be getting a notebook/netbook in the future
  • matt2k
    if only the 'h' in Shiffler was a 't'...
  • ProDigit10
    that all is to be expected.
    A lot of people are quite happy with their smart phones; and can do almost anything they need to with it.

    Another part has bought netbooks for their needs, and tablet pc's that replaced a lot of notebooks.

    Desktops are generally only used for servers, companies, offices, and gamers.
  • I don't see a use for tablets when we have so many superphones on the market. Of course this is just my opinion. I've been told to just try the ipad first and I have. Bought one at walmart to try for a week and returned it.
  • notty22
    applegetsmelaidTablets changed my life! If it weren't for the iPad I would still be a virgin.I lol'd at this.
    Many have had similar experiences, a corvette :) ?
    Ipad II starting at 500 dollars is a game changer for many withe expendable income. With its dual cameras, the video chat feature is a BIG time app.
    I'm in for 1 this year, for the coffe table. Its functional,a topic of conversation, the newspaper or latest magazine all in one.
  • retirepresident
    Instead of the initial forecast of 417 million PCs, Gartner now estimates 2011 unit sales to be in the 388 million range. Decrease another 20%-40% I'll believe that. Gartner waking up its get worst.
  • eddieroolz
    I for one refuse to buy a tablet. Real work is done on a PC.