Throughout the past few years, the tech industry has watched as consumers bought fewer PCs each year. Shipments of PCs and notebooks have been declining for several consecutive quarters now. Consumers have not been lured in by new PC hardware features such as touchscreen notebooks and Microsoft's Windows 8 platform has similarly failed to gain traction.
This doom-and-gloom about he PC industry, however, is being balanced out by what consumer actually are purchasing - tablets.
Market research firm NPD has released its latest estimates of the consumer PC market, showing that the overall segment has seen an impressive 25.4% increase over 2012 PC sales. This is a massive increase over the slight 3.1% growth NPD measured for the market segment in 2012. These numbers include desktop PCs, notebook PCs, and tablets together as a group.
Obviously, most of the growth seen in the industry came from tablets, which are proving more popular than ever this year. NPD measured tablet sales as increasing 49% over 2012 sales, while desktop and notebooks saw only 8.5% and 28.9%, respectively. Tablet sales accounted for a full 22% of all "PC device" sales in November, showing just how popular such devices were on Black Friday.
The growth in tablet sales was led this year by a variety of Android tablets, with this year was predicted to overtake Apple iPad shipments. Windows tablets, though, also increased their meager share of the market by a significant amount.
Growth in the notebook segment was led by, of all things, Chromebooks. The smaller, more portable form-factor of the devices seems to appeal to consumers that are increasingly focused on mobile devices.
“The market for personal computing devices in commercial markets continues to shift and change,” said Stephen Baker, VP of industry analysis at NPD. “New products like Chromebooks, and reimagined items like Windows tablets, are now supplementing the revitalization that iPads started in personal computing devices. It is no accident that we are seeing the fruits of this change in the commercial markets as business and institutional buyers exploit the flexibility inherent in the new range of choices now open to them.”