The start of the school year has not caused a demand spike for PCs this year, as it has done in years past. Stern Agee technology analyst Vijay Rakesh said in an email to clients that back-to-school demand for personal computers has been “virtually absent.” He read that as sign of a dismal holiday season and all of 2014.
Computer sales for the period between June 30th and September 7th declined 2.5% since the year before, according to research and consulting firm NPD Group. The percentage of decline is not shocking, but it is noteworthy because many had been hoping educational sales would help worldwide PC sales, which saw their biggest year-over-year decline in April (14%, to 76.3 million units). Rakesh lowered his revenue forecast for chipmaker Intel to $52.7 billion from $53.2 billion.
The PC market has been struggling for some time as tablets have become the device of choice for connecting to the internet for leisure purposes. (14% of tablet owners, for example, use the device to dig deeper on their preferred about television shows.) But low PC sales at the start of the school year shows that the PC might be on its way out as the go-to device for students. Indeed, a Nielsen study showed that 71% of students that owned tablets wanted to use them for viewing textbooks. 42% of them did actually use them to access books. 40% used them for taking notes. All grim numbers for the sagging PC market.