Significant Falls in Consumer PC Sales for Q1

While 2009 and 2010 were both bumper years for consumer PC sales it seems that 2011 is not likely to work out the same. In the first quarter of 2011 DELL have reported consumer PC sales are down 8 percent and Hewlett Packard have reported a huge 23 percent fall in consumer PC sale for the quarter.

However, fortunately for both, their corporate sales were up with DELL reporting an increase of 7 percent and Hewlett Packard posting a 13 percent increase.

But one wonders if the forecasts made last year by a number of computer industry journals and research heavy-weights like Gartner Research and Forrester Research that 2011 would be the start of the end of the PC for consumer use might be right. The thinking is that non-corporate users will gravitate across to Android and iOS tablet computers, and even smartphones, for their general computing requirements—which for many is simply the need to access the Internet (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.,), and viewing videos and pictures.

In addition the Chromebook computer is about to be officially released (sometime in June by Acer and Samsung). The Chromebook, which is a functionality reduced notebook that runs Google’s Chrome operating system, will allow people access to the Internet and Web without the hassles of having to worry about dealing with a complex operating system—such as Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, or Linux. The Chrome operating system basically only works on the Internet. When you turn a Chromebook on it starts up in the Google Chrome browser, and there it stays. You can only use applications available on the Internet and you store everything on the Internet. Nothing is stored on the Chromebook itself.

If the experts have this right then the only ‘consumers’ (non-corporate customers) likely to be buying real PCs any more will be consumers who need to do serious work on a home computer or play serious games. People like me who work from home two days a week, people who do serious computing stuff at home (e.g., serious photo editing or video editing), serious gamers who need awesome graphics speed and even dual heads (screens), and possibly tertiary level students needing to use a ‘real’ computer.

Assuming the industry forecasters have this right then it is going to be kind of sad to see the end of the ‘home PC’.

It is going to be interesting to watch consumer PC sales numbers as the year roles on.