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Are Mobile Devices Cutting into PC Sales? Or Are We Too Broke to Upgrade?

People aren’t buying as many PCs as they used to. It’s a fact. . . according to Gartner, anyway. They say that computer shipments are down 8.3% worldwide and 13.8% in the US.

Locally, Toshiba and Acer have taken the hardest hits. HP would have been in trouble except that they’re ahead of the game in worldwide sales. And there’s little Lenovo – the only manufacturer to show growth this past year. What’s going on?

Mobile certainly is a factor. Smartphones and tablets have to be eating into PC usage, but it’s hard to imagine that’s what’s stopping sales. Could be that there simply haven’t been enough innovations in computing lately to make upgrading worth the cost and effort.

I’ve also noticed that computers last longer than they use to. Maybe the technology has improved, or maybe we just learned how to better care for them but with the economy being what it is, buying a new computer when the old one still works fine is out of the question for most folks.

Usually, the holiday season brings excellent deals on computers, but maybe this year it will be all about the tablet instead. Why buy a $500 laptop when you can get a tablet that does nearly the same thing for half the price and half the weight?

The only thing that could boost PC sales is the up-coming release of Windows 8. Although you will be able to upgrade your current computer (provided it’s not too old) to the new system, many people will opt to purchase a new system in order to start fresh.

How does any of this impact online marketing? Hard to say since we’re not really sure what’s causing the slow down. If indeed, fewer people are using computers because they’ve made the switch to mobile, that means fewer people will see your online ads. But with the slow growth in mobile advertising, it’s not time to abandon one for the other just yet. So let’s just put all this information in the “hmmm” pile and see where we go from here.