Demand for laptop computers is so weak in the first half of 2013 that the analysts at IHS iSupply have declared it virtually impossible that the overall market for laptop and desktop PCs will grow in 2013 over 2012. It’s the same death-of-the-PC-story we’ve heard before, only now the infection has spread to laptops as well. The numbers:
- 6.9% drop in laptop shipments between the first and second quarters of 2013. That’s twice the 3.7% drop seen in 2002 after the dot-com bust.
- Compare that to a 41.7% increase in laptop shipments from Q1 to Q2 of 2010. Typically, the second quarter of the year sees a sharp uptick in purchases of notebook computers, a bounce-back after soft demand in the beginning of the year.
- 2013 will be the second year in a row in which PC shipments shrank overall. Unless a miracle happens in the second half of 2013, the PC industry is going to have to face the fact that its decade of expansion, from 2001 to 2011, is over.
The culprit in all of this? “Media tablets,” says iSupply. And those are only becoming more versatile at the high end, more affordable at the low end, and more popular overall. Given those trends, could 2014 be the third year in a row that PC sales decline? It would be unprecedented, but manufacturers can’t rule it out.