back to article PC sales shrank less than expected during back-to-school 2013

Want a shock? Sales of desktop and notebook PCs during the all-important back-to-school period were actually better than expected, according to the latest figures from research firm the NPD Group. That doesn't mean the PC market has suddenly leapt off its sickbed and started tap dancing, mind you. The numbers are still …


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  1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    causation is not correlation either!

    "Touch notebooks accounted for 25 per cent of the total this year, which would seem to validate Redmond's touch-centric strategy for Windows 8"

    Er, did MS not push OEMs hard to include touch screens, hence no big surprise that a large number of buyers got them whether they want to use touch of not?

    If you want to "validate Redmond's touch-centric strategy" you need to be reporting on the number of users of laptops with touch screens that actually use that feature.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: causation is not correlation either!

      Not just that, but the man in the street is stuck with buying a Windows 8 PC that has the touch UI front and centre (unless they choose to go for a Chromebook), so they are pretty much forced to get one with a touch screen if they are to reetain their sanity.

      That is, until they find some friendly geek who will set their machine up to work like Windows has done since Win95.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: causation is not correlation either!

      Only touch enabled PC I sold during back to school had touch turned off straight away and Start8 installed so as to boot straight to desktop and add back a start menu. Right after that I set all the desktop programs as default. Would that Windows 8 had never happened...

  2. arctic_haze

    The "entry level" PCs did especially well.

    Aren't they the last category where you still can buy a computer with Windows 7 installed?

    1. Vociferous

      No, the top-of-the-line machines sell with Win7 too.

      The ones where you can select which components you want.

  3. Vociferous

    There'll be an unexpected bump in PC sales in 2014...

    ...when the next-gen console games start getting ported to PC.

    The reason PCs don't sell any more is because there is no reason to upgrade: even something as ridiculously weak as a tabled can show movies and surf, and even a laptop can play the games because all high budget games available on the PC are made to be playable on current-gen consoles, which have seven year old hardware (and it wasn't all that great even seven years ago).

    Late this year the new generation of consoles are released, and shortly after the games made for them. The ports will NOT be playable on laptops or five year old PC:s, so everyone who plays games on PC and haven't upgraded in the last two years will need to upgrade.

    So 2014 will be a good year for PC vendors, but then the decline starts again, because once everyone has computers able to play next-gen console games then there will be no reason to upgrade PC:s for another ten years.

    1. poopypants

      Re: There'll be an unexpected bump in PC sales in 2014...

      Nice theory, however I suspect the vast majority of PCs are not used for playing games. (Unless you count web based games, but they won't need a hardware upgrade.)

      Let's look at some numbers:

      According to a report by Forrester Research, there were over one billion PCs in use worldwide by the end of 2008. By contrast, there are 55 million users of Steam, which sells 75% of PC games.

      Let's be generous then and say there are 75 million people who play non web based games on PCs.

      That works out to 7.5% of the one billion PCs in use worldwide - a surprisingly high number, but still not enough to reverse the global drop in PC sales, even if half of them suddenly decide that they need to upgrade.

      Further, since the most common upgrade would consist of a new GPU card (and possibly a beefier PSU), these changes won't show up in new PC sales.

      It may be a good year for places like Newegg, but companies like Dell will mostly miss out.

      I think the problem with PC sales is that the previous generation of CPUs is good enough for just about everyone - most times if an improvement is needed it is in graphics, and solving that does not require a new PC*.

      *Unless you have a laptop.

    2. Paul Shirley

      Re: There'll be an unexpected bump in PC sales in 2014...

      Serious PC gamers already have machines more powerful than PS4 or XB180 will be and will carry on spending stupid money pushing them further ahead. I intend dropping £100-200 on a new midrange GPU when the right card turns up to get my PC well beyond console level again and I'd guess the majority of PC gamers will try the same.

      The rest of the PC world will just let the game reduce it's settings to match their existing hardware and barely notice - the tiny minority that play these console ports.

      This generation of consoles aren't going to push PC sales, they simply aren't that far ahead of any but the cheapest PCs, those buyers aren't likely to change PC just to play games better. By the time they're forced to buy another cheap PC it will compare very well with consoles, GPUs are only frozen on consoles, PC's continually improve.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    headline news - analysts wrong

    And therein lies the problem, the experts get things wrong (from only sometimes to all the time)

  5. Anonymous Coward

    a bigger picture

    I've got a couple of kids who are using repurposed-repurposed machines. I'm betting that this year both of them will have to be replaced, probably with laptops, probably with the latest Fedora (since its similar to CentOS and thats what I support at work). So I'll probably be spending 6-8 hundred on computers this year. And I'm sure I'm not the only parent in this situation.

    Beer 'cause it's Friday and I type faster if I don't noitce mistakes.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here's a hint:

    With a 100 million people unemployed in the UK, U.S. and Asia that were employed 5 years ago, we're going to stay in an economic meltdown for another five years if good, new jobs are not created soon.

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