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.
Windows PC Sales Keep Lagging: 10 Factors Holding Back the Market
5. Windows 8 reviews hurt
Windows 8 has been hit hard by reviewers who say that the operating system comes with a steep learning curve. That’s a factor that can’t be overlooked. It appears that at least some customers have taken heed of that advice and decided against buying a new Windows 8 PC. Granted, Windows 7 machines are still out there, but most PC makers are pushing Windows 8. But today’s customers aren’t necessarily excited about Windows 8.
6. PCs aren’t atop holiday shopping lists
Study after study has been released lately discussing what customers are most likely to buy this holiday season. Across the board, PCs were either not on shopping lists or were far down on them. Today’s consumers want iPads, iPhones, and game consoles. The thought of buying a PC just doesn’t excite them any longer.
7. Where’s the innovation?
It’s hard to blame customers for feeling disappointed with Windows PCs when they look around and find little in the way of innovation. Just about every desktop looks the same and comes with nearly identical components. On the notebook side, a few colors are all that differentiate computers from HP and Dell. Design inspiration and innovation are nowhere to be found in the PC market. It’s about time that changes.
8. Desktops are dying, anyway
Although desktop sales were down less than their notebook counterparts, those PCs are slowly but surely dying off. Today’s enterprise and consumer buyers want mobile PCs and have all of their information with them wherever they go. In the enterprise, companies have no desire to keep employees locked to a desk. With desktops naturally dying, it makes some sense that PC shipments disappoint.
9. CES isn’t here yet
Let’s not forget that Windows 8 is currently running on computers that were mainly designed for Windows 7. At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, most PC manufacturers are expected to unveil new top-of-the-line PC models designed with Windows 8 in mind. It’s possible that after CES, the PC market will expand a bit as customers get excited by the new offerings. Until then, however, tough times will continue.
10. The economy is playing a role
It’s important to not overlook the economy’s impact on the PC market. With a healthy dose of uncertainty and concern about the fiscal cliff in Washington and worries about another recession, purchasers are keeping their cash close to the vest, rather than doling it out for anything flashy that comes along. PCs are still somewhat expensive. Until the economy starts to turn around some more and there are clear signs of growth consumers might simply stick with their current computers rather than invest in a new one. After all, they might reason, what’s one more year?