Laptops and desktops prevail in 2013, touch-screens drive sales
04 February 2013

Laptops and desktops prevail in 2013, touch-screens drive sales

While desktops and laptops no longer match the growth of tablets and smartphones in the last three years, desktop and laptop sales have remained strong.

More than 80 per cent of the data going across the Internet in 2013 will continue to originate from laptop and desktop personal computers (Deloitte Canada 2013 trends report).

(1) People Continue to spend more time on laptops than mobile devices

People will still spend more time on personal computers in 2013 than they will on tablets and smartphones, despite the popularity of mobile devices according to the latest tech trend report from Deloitte Canada (2013).

Duncan Steward (Deloitte Toronto) believes that "people like big screens. They watch a two-hour movie, they play a half-hour game. They check Facebook for a while. The session length tends to be much longer."

Desktops have a keyboard and a pointer device that are needed for people to perform most of their computing tasks, even today.

hp-envy-x2More than 70 per cent of the hours people spend on computing devices -- PCs, smartphones and tablets -- will be on a personal computer in 2013 and work will account for much of that, Stewart's report, released Tuesday, said.

During non-work lives, they're likely to use personal computers more than 50 per cent of the time, the report found.

Smartphones can have screens that are only about three inches, or about 76 millimetres, and tablets can have screens that are seven to 10 inches (178 mm to 254 mm).

While desktops and laptops no longer match the growth of tablets and smartphones in the last three years, desktop and laptop sales have remained strong (Deloitte Canada 2013 trends report).

There's expected to be almost 1.6 billion personal computers in use globally in 2013, up from 1.4 billion in 2010. By contrast, there will be about a quarter of a billion tablets in use globally and the smartphone base will be more than 1.5 billion worldwide in 2013, the report said.

The report also indicates that companies with more than 100 employees worldwide are not replacing computers with tablets.

Tablets are being used in addition to PCs to replace paper, such as agendas and lists. Doctors are using tablets to replace clipboards and restaurants can use them to replace such things as wine lists.

(2) Sales of Windows laptops decline but touch-screens may be their saviour

The sales of Windows laptops are plagued by the legacy of those nasty, cheap, disposable netbooks that fuelled the sales of Windows 7 and then obliterated the sales of Windows 8.

Historically, Windows 7 launched with a barrage of very cheap netbooks (Supersite for Windows).

Paul Thurott said that, “many of those 20 million Windows 7 licenses each month — too many, I think — went to machines that are basically throwaway, plastic crap. Netbooks didn’t just rejuvenate the market just as Windows 7 appeared, they also destroyed it from within.".

dell-convertibleWindows laptop buyers now expect to pay very low prices for a Windows machines. The sales trends confirm that Windows users will not pay for more expensive Windows PCs.

Businesses and consumers will have to spend $849 US for a Windows 8 hybrid laptops/tablets that contain a relatively slow and underpowered Atom processor. Houston, we have a problem.

Windows 8 PC sales aren’t doing very well, as of January 2013. NPD Group was recently quoted saying "Windows 8 holiday sales continue to not impress. Window's users have become seriously used to low cost devices. NPD Group went on to say that "Windows 8 did little to boost (2012) holiday sales or improve the yearlong (2012) Windows notebook sales decline".

The facts are that Windows laptop sales are down by 11 percent year-over-year (NPD Group).

Price is a serious problem for windows laptops but is less of an issue for Apple laptops. This is an interesting series of facts (NPD Group):

  1. The average selling price of a Windows laptop rose by $2 to $420 on a sales drop of 11 percent.
  2. The average selling price of a MacBook rose almost $100 to $1,419 on a sales drop of 6 percent.
  3. Windows and Apple laptops sales decreased, but Apple made a $100 average selling price, while Windows laptops made only two bucks.

Windows 8 touch-screen devices are turning around this trend and Microsoft may have found a way to raise the price-point of Windows laptops by adding the in-demand touch-screen functionality (Rhoda Alexander, CNET & IHS iSuppli). Some vendors report that they can't keep touch-screen PCs on the shelf.

The winning formula for Windows 8 device sales seems to be touch-screen devices with a slight drop in prices. Touch screen Windows laptops and desktops offer an advantage over Apple, which doesn’t have any touch-screen MacBooks as of January 2013.

It is an interesting time for the evolution of laptops and desktops with tablet-inspired features driving sales in 2013.

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