On September 8, 2011, Gartner, Inc. lowered its forecast for personal computers for the remainder of 2011 and 2012. Based on the recent surge of tablet PCs, personal laptops are experiencing a decline as consumers hold onto their laptops longer or replace them completely with tablets. Increased mobility and a need for social media may be two of the forces driving consumers to choose tablets over laptops. This journal seeks to explain the decline in laptop sales and whether tablets will lead to the extinction of laptops altogether.
The Beginning of the End?
Mobile PC sales in the United States have seen increasing growth since 1990. Mobile PCs are considered all laptop, netbook, pad/tablet and other mobile PCs. In 1990, sales were just over 1 million. By 2005, sales were over 22 million and the projection for 2011 was originally 63 million (eTForecasts 2011). Table 1 illustrates the growth in sales from 1990 to current projections in 2015. Laptops accounted for nearly all of these sales, as tablets were not truly introduced until the iPad was released in 2010. In January of 2010, Apple announced that they would be launching the iPad. In the following month, laptop growth declined from 70% to 35%. In April of that year, the iPad was launched and the growth of laptops declined to 11% for the month. By April 2011, BusinessWeek reported that global laptop sales declined to 1% in the first quarter of 2011 (Pinola 2011). Before Apple could even get their units on the shelves a rapid decline in laptop sales was evident. Now as the iPad 2, Blackberry Playbook, Motorola Xoom, and many other tablets are gaining ground, one can only expect to see laptop sales continue on this downward spiral. On September 8, 2011, Gartner, Inc. reduced its projections for laptop sales from a 9.8% down to a low 3.8%. This was the second time in one year that Gartner had cut its projections. In March of 2011,...