PC shipments in Asia Pacific region shrink again

Research firm IDC’s preliminary results for the first quarter of 2014 show that the PC market in the Asia Pacific region, excluding Japan, declined by 8% compared to the quarter before, and 11% compared to the same period a year before.

Nearly 24 million units, comprising both desktop and portable PCs, were shipped in this region, IDC said. Handoko Andi, Research Manager for Client Devices at IDC Asia/Pacific, predicted that interest will bounce back in the second half of the year, but also cautioned that users were going after other devices.

“On the consumer side, ongoing distractions from smartphones and tablets as well as cautious channel intake impacted most markets in the region, especially in South East Asia,” he said.

No matter how you look at it, tablets and smartphones have been taking over part of the functions of PCs for quite some time. The iPad, launched in 2010, was the first tablet that really blurred the distinction between a machine used for work, and one used for play with an attractive screen, acceptable battery life, an elegant user interface, and a full ecosystem of software that made owners want to use it.

Today, tablets have similar screen sizes to laptops and productivity software equivalents of Microsoft Office, if not the Microsoft versions themselves. The company has even released free, albeit basic, versions of Office for Android and iOS this year, as well as a version of Office for the iPad.

Could tablets replace PCs completely? That day could soon come. In releasing its results, IDC noted that PC shipments had been declining for the 8th consecutive quarter. No prizes will be given for guessing the trend correctly for the rest of the year.