Drop in PC sales as more people turn to smartphones

June 09, 2019

Personal computer (PC) sales have seen a sharp decline in the last few months. Among varied reasons for this drop in sales one standout factor is more and more people opting for smartphones for tasks like sending emails.

As per global research and advisory firm Gartner, the worldwide PC shipments totalled 58.5mn units in the first quarter of 2019, a 4.6 per cent decline from the first quarter of 2018. In a report, Mikako Kitagawa, senior principal analyst at Gartner said, “We saw the start of a rebound in PC shipments in mid-2018, but anticipation of a disruption by CPU shortages impacted all PC markets as vendors allocated to the higher-margin business and Chromebook segment.”

The scene in Oman is no different.

Most of the computer shops in the city reported that there has indeed been a decline in PC sales. A drop of around 30 to 40 per cent has been reported.

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Speaking about the issue, Mohammad Kaleem from Al Maskari Computers in CBD said, “Most of the work that people used laptops for like sending mails, MS Word, simple photo edit and checking family pictures, can be done in a mobile. There has been a sharp decline (almost 40 per cent) in sale of laptops from my establishment in the last six months. “A mobile phone allows access to everything including entertainment.”

Kaleem added that another big advantage for smartphones is that they are programmed for start-to-touch-to-end which means that there is no tension or time consumed to start, boot or log off like a computer.

Another advantage is that all social media accounts are mobile friendly. “Even Instagram is made on the foundation of mobile phones (though it also has a desktop version),” said an official from Zahara Mobiles.

He added, “Facebook has also made a successful entry into smartphones and applications like WhatsApp and Viber have made communication easier. Initially it was only webcam and Yahoo Chat but now options are available only for mobiles.”

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Shuhaib J from Teratec added that there has been a drop in the PC sales in the last few months.

He said, “We have seen a drop of 30 per cent. Except office-goers and designers, a few people will use PCs in days to come though they will not be extinct.”

“While the consumer market remained weak, the mix of product availability may have also hindered demand. In contrast, Chromebook shipments increased by double digits compared with the first quarter of 2018, despite the shortage of entry-level CPUs. Including Chromebook shipments, the total worldwide PC market decline would have been 3.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2019,” said Kitagawa.