Mobile PC Shipments Under-Perform in the Fourth Quarter of 2013

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“Mobile PC Remains Soft in Q4” by the IHS shows that mobile PC shipments in Q4/2013 missed projections set at 55.3 million units. Compared to the same quarter 2012, this was a 5% decline and the 6th straight decline compared to previous quarters. At 52.6 million shipped units in the 4th quarter, this represented a 9.4% quarterly growth over Q3/2013. 48.1 million units were shipped in the 3rd quarter hitting the target set by market analysts. The report describes the growth in 4th quarter shipments as the strongest sequential growth since 2009.

“The introduction of new platforms and the arrival of Intel’s new-generation Atom processor Bay Trail were expected to enable a new entry-level pricing point for the PC market not seen since the netbook. But with the consumer PC market struggling, PC vendors proceeded to maintain a conservative buying plan for the holiday season with attempts to keep inventory levels lean. As a result, entry-level PCs did not make it into high volume for the holidays, and overall shipments under-performed the initial heady outlook.” – IHS Craig Stice, director for compute, servers and storage.

The mobile PC market, which counts laptops and PC tablets, is falling to the might of the wireless PC market (smartphones and tablets). Consumers prefer the more agile products under the wireless PC category mostly for their size which makes them accessible anywhere. Mobile PCs have introduced processors which optimize battery life, convertible netbooks and longer lasting batteries. This innovations have failed to pull consumers from the wireless market.
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Intel’s Bay Trail built for longer battery life and excellent graphics performance is now included inside most products being released by PC vendors. This is one of the drivers that’s expected to drive mobile PC sales. The Chinese New Year and the expiry of Windows XP OS are the other factors expected to influence sales as consumers go shopping for upgraded hardware.

Media tablets (iPad, Galaxy Tab) are said to be reaching saturation levels raising new interest in the full power of the PC. Mobile PC enthusiasts feel that more consumers in the developed markets will be moving back to the PC, even if it’s just a mobile version like a laptop. Decline in the PC market could soon level off but there’s no chance of seeing the double-digit growth experienced in the past.

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