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Monday Morning Mobile: Sale of PCs Drops, Mobile Rises

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By Seth Kaplan

As reports and news continue to surface from holiday season 2012, there is no shortage of evidence to support the ever apparent shift of consumers to mobile devices. In a report from Reuters released last week, holiday season sales of personal computers fell for the first time in more than five years.

While there were a number of factors that caused this to be true, age old rules of supply and demand were at the heart of it; the demand for PC’s was down while demand for mobile and tablet devices was up.

One of the factors that led to this decline was the lack luster level of excitement from consumers over Windows 8. While this signifies the most radical change in the operating system in the past twenty years, consumers were unfamiliar and uncomfortable with the new tile based interface and PC makers did not offer an exciting enough array of new devices to motivate consumers to make the switch.

Tablets are on pace to outsell full feature PCs this year for the first time in US history. In the fourth quarter of last year, 89.8 million PCs were sold worldwide down 6.4 percent from 2011 and for the year as a whole, PC sales were down 3.2 percent. There’s no dramatic shift in sight either as consumers have little reason and/or motivation to upgrade their PC.

We see and hear this everyday in the real estate space as brokers look to create a more mobile work force. By downsizing to smaller office spaces with fewer square feet per agent, creating more open, café like spaces with more conference rooms to encourage collaboration, they are simultaneously encouraging the purchase of more sophisticated mobile and tablet devices. These devices require no wires, plugs or defined space so agents can come in, sit in whatever space is open and quickly get to work.

As such, our reliance on our PC (in most cases are laptop) becomes less and less. While most of us still have one, we use it to start a project, create a framework of a presentation, or save things. It has become a hub, a sophisticated hard drive which will ultimately be replaced by a cloud based storage systems of which there are many to choose from (Dropbox, iCloud, Egnyte, etc.).

Are we witnessing the end of the PC era right before our eyes? Will the PC go the way of the home phone? Probably not, there will remain a need for them for the foreseeable future primarily for sophisticated work and job related functions, but they will continue to play a smaller and smaller role in our lives compared to what they represented just five short years ago.

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