While tablet sales are firmly set to conquer PC shipments in 2013, companies such as Dell are still planning on keeping traditional computers as a core product offering.
In an interview with Information Week, Dell’s product marketing director Brett McAnally reported that the tech company would continue focusing on Dell laptop and desktop models, particularly for schools and businesses.
The desktop/laptop market has grown increasingly difficult to survive in since the rise of the iPad and a host of similar tablets from the top brands in the industry. Numerous reports have confirmed the switching sales. According to research firm IDC, worldwide tablet shipments reached a total of 52.5 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012, going beyond previous predictions and growing a total of 75.3 percent between 2011 and 2012 and nearly the same amount between the third and fourth quarters of 2012 alone (the iPad led sales).
A similar IDC report in April 2013 announced that worldwide PC shipments — totaling 76.3 million units — saw a 13.9 percent decline in the first quarter of 2013, the largest drop seen since tracking first began in 1994. New models continue to come out, including the Windows 8 operating system from Microsoft, but interest in PCs has waned. Consumers have been drawn to the mobile and usability that tablets provide. Terms such as “couch commerce” have become common, thanks to their affect on the retail world.
So, how does a company like Dell feel safe in its continuing PC strategy? According to McAnally, businesses continue to buy Dell laptop models and other traditional devices to manage their increasingly complicated systems. Not only do traditional computers provide a larger screen size for managing multiple documents and projects, but the old-fashioned keyboard and mouse are often more suited for office-related tasks, rather than casual browsing and shopping activities.
It is far more time consuming, McAnally mentions in the interview, to build a PowerPoint presentation on a tablet compared to a desktop. Standardized images and programs in the business world are still made primarily for PCs, as well.
The school market is even more encouraging. One of the latest Dell laptop models, the Latitude 3330, is designed specifically for school programs and Dell has high hopes for the computer because of its low cost ($519 with Windows 7). When budgets are a primary concern, schools adopting new technology are often swayed over to cheaper PCs, even when tablets are available.
Another driver of future PC sales could also be the growing needs of big data: A third IDC report indicates that storage for big data (analytics that use vast amounts of information, typically about consumer behavior and sales) is set to increase by an average annual rate of 53 percent between 2011 and 2016. With data storage being such a key part of business plans, PCs have yet another edge over tablets and similar mobile devices, which tend to have highly limited hard drives.