It's no surprise that PC shipments are set to decline this year. While the enterprise market remains modestly healthy the consumer market for PCs is weak. And it's not just the economy; demand is fading.
We're in a "post PC" world now; consumers have many more device options to accomplish tasks that at one time could only be done on the PC. Indeed, MS Office is reportedly coming to iOS and Android devices. Office was the last barrier to totally giving up the PC for many people.
IHS iSuppli has projected a 1.2% shipment (not sales) decline from 2011. But unlike shipments that never translate into consumer sales, there can be no sales without shipments.
The company said that not since 2001 has the PC market contracted like this on a global basis:
The total PC market in 2012 is expected to contract by 1.2 percent to 348.7 million units, down from 352.8 million in 2011, as shown in the figure below. Not since 2001—more than a decade ago—has the worldwide PC industry suffered such a decline.
When you step back and look at the broader device market, you can see how much growth lies ahead for smartphones and tablets (and who knows what other connected devices) in the future. The PC will likely chug along in workmanlike fashion but its days of robust double-digit growth are over.
Source: ITU World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators database, Gartner, Morgan Stanley (2011-2012)