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Mobile device popularity can create a chance for distributors and retailers to move into new areas

Tablets are changing the PC landscape

As global PC shipments fall, the tablet and mobile device market is growing at a fast pace, opening up a number of different avenues for IT businesses to travel down.

“Fading Mini Notebook shipments have taken a big chunk out of the low- end market while tablets and smartphones continue to divert consumer spending,” said IDC in a recent report.

“PC industry efforts to offer touch capabilities and ultraslim systems have been hampered by traditional barriers of price and component supply, as well as a weak reception for Windows 8.”

So while desktops and notebook sales may be dwindling, and ultrabooks aren’t selling as well as they should, tablets and smartphones are leading the market.

Distributor KMS believes that this ever-growing popularity for mobile devices is creating an exciting chance for distributors and retailers to move into new areas.

“In some shape or form most people should be involved with tablets, it just depends what their business is set up to do. Whether that’s better served to offer accessories and peripherals, or if it’s offering actual devices. I think this is essential when you consider the sales of tablets against PCs – they have taken over,” commented KMS sales director Steve Bland.

Alex Tatham, Westcoast’s sales and marketing director, agrees with being involved in tablets, and even warns that PCR readers should “ensure they have a comprehensive offering”. But Tatham insists that the distributor’s PC business has actually grown: “Westcoast is not seeing anything like the disaster that IDC has suggested; in fact our PC business has grown.

“Consumers are spending their spare cash on a tablet as opposed to a new desktop but businesses are increasingly upgrading. I can only see this accelerating as Microsoft’s support for Windows XP ends next April and more business adopt Windows 8 as a standard operating system.”

Marco Della Vedova from etailer Dino PC, is also still seeing demand for desktops, commenting: “In the case of professionals working with power hungry software suites, the need for a powerful desktop workstation is still there, and this is also true for users looking for high performance gaming machines.”

At the beginning of this year, market analyst Gartner reported that the declining global PC shipments of Q4 2012 were a sign of a structural shift in the PC market.

“Tablets have dramatically changed the device landscape for PCs, not so much by ‘cannibalising’ PC sales, but by causing PC users to shift consumption to tablets rather than replacing older PCs,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. “We increasingly suspect that most individuals will shift consumption activity to a personal tablet, and perform creative and administrative tasks on a shared PC. We hypothesise that buyers will not replace secondary PCs in the household, instead allowing them to age out and shifting media and internet consumption to a tablet.”

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