Windows PC Sales Keep Lagging: 10 Factors Holding Back the Market

NEWS ANALYSIS: Despite Windows 8’s launch and analysts’ initial hopeful estimates, Windows PC sales are down considerably and computer makers are scrambling to figure out why.

When Windows 8 launched on Oct. 26, the operating system was expected to dramatically change the state of the PC market. Prior to its launch, PC sales were slumping across the board, and most analysts said it was due mainly to customers holding on to their cash until Microsoft’s new operating system was made available. Post-Windows 8, the analysts said, everything would change.

But it appears things haven’t actually changed for the PC market. According to new data from research firm NPD, Windows PC sales have fallen 21 percent since the Windows 8 launch. Notebooks are down 24 percent during that period, while desktop sales have dropped 9 percent. The research firm could only reason, based on that data, that Windows 8 isn’t doing enough to jumpstart the PC business, leading many to wonder if the disappointing sales will continue for a much longer time than expected.

Still, blaming only Windows 8 for the decline of PC sales doesn’t make much sense. PCs are in deep trouble today because of a host of reasons. Unfortunately for PC makers, it doesn’t appear that things will turn around anytime soon.

Read on to find out why PC sales are hurting so badly:

1. Blame it on the iPad

Apple’s iPad is one of the most desired products on the market. In many cases, people view it as a suitable replacement for a lightweight notebook. That has hurt PC sales over the last couple of years and if analysts are to be believed, will continue to be a problem. Unless the PC market can overcome the iPad, trouble will persist.

2. The Windows 8 marketing pitch isn’t quite there

Although Microsoft launched Windows 8 with great fanfare, the company really hasn’t gone out of its way to prove to customers why they need it. In fact, the Windows 8 advertising campaign has proven rather anemic. If Microsoft wants to see stronger PC sales, the company must make it clearer to customers why Windows 8 is worth using.

3. The enterprise is balking

The enterprise was once leading the adoption of the latest PCs models. But since the launch of Windows 8, enterprise adoption has been somewhat disappointing. IT decision-makers are focusing more of their purchases on cloud solutions and mobile products than PCs. According to one recent study, enterprises won’t even consider adopting Windows 8 until 2014. That’s bad news for PC makers and Microsoft.

4. Consumers are increasingly buying Macs

Apple’s Mac sales are soaring. In fact, at a recent press event, Apple said that its MacBook Pro is the bestselling notebook on the market. If that doesn’t prove why PC sales are slumping, what does? Apple PC products are extremely popular—and it’s cannibalizing Windows PC sales.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...