A third of PC owners are shifting tasks to mobile devices

By on February 8, 2013, 9:30 AM

A new report from NPD Group further drives home the notion that the PC industry has a serious problem on its hands. As we all know, the problem in question is mobile devices – they continue to chip away at an industry that most probably never imagined could fall on such hard times.

The report notes that 37 percent of consumers that used to access content from a computer have now switched to using tablets and smartphones to accomplish the same tasks. Unsurprisingly, accessing Facebook and surfing the web were named as the two most popular mobile activities in the rapidly approaching post-PC era.

Similarly, 27 percent of smartphone owners polled said they have decreased Facebook usage and web surfing on their desktop and notebook computers. For tablet owners, 20 percent said they are using Facebook less on the PC while 27 percent surf the Internet less frequently from a traditional computer.

Having said that, the PC still reigns supreme in a number of tasks. For example, 75 percent of computer owners use it to surf the web compared to just 61 percent of smartphone owners who use their device for the same task. Only 53 percent of tablet owners use their slates to navigate the web.

We’re still at the infancy of mobile and already, it’s had a tremendous impact on the entire industry. A number of companies are now reevaluating their roadmaps to include mobile while companies like Facebook are looking to capitalize on advertising revenue from portables as quickly as possible. Either way you cut it, the landscape as a whole is changing.




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1 person liked this | Guest said:

So if my math is correct, then 2/3 of PC owners "aren't" moving their tasks to mobile devices.Kudos to the author of this post for restraining himself from posting the title of this article as, "Tablets will soon rule the universe". Thank you Shawn. You are so disciplined.

1 person liked this | RH00D RH00D said:

Nothing against the author or this article specifically, but I find articles that give this type of message are just wishful thinking, or more bluntly, "peeing in the wind". Desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones will all co-exist together. Mobile devices are increasing but that is to be expected as desktops and laptops already saturate the market and mobiles are relatively new so of course the mobile usage will expand. But I think all form factors will balance out in terms of market share.

2 people like this | Guest said:

"Only 53 percent of tablet owners use their slates to navigate the web."

Say what? About the only thing tablets are good for is surfing the web. If half of them aren't even doing that, then what the hell are people buying these things for. Angry Birds? What a waste of money.

Ranger1st Ranger1st said:

^ lol this .. seriously between this place and Extreme tech it's a wonder that there are any PC's left in the world.. I've got a top of the Line LG superphone.. I won't surf on it or use it in ANY public place or government building. 1) it's illegal in most government building to use ANY device with a camera on it and 2) most government building s block wifi/phone signals inside to keep people from infringing on other peoples privacy. Smart phones and the ignorant masses have doomed the device to the same limited spaces we send smokers now. In public the phone has the ability to infringe on someone privacy, if some feminazi decides that you've pointed the phone too close to her and she feels violated by it.. that's a federal level offence. Welcome to the REAL world of multi input personal devices and the issues of personal privacy..

seefizzle said:

I do a lot of tasks on my tablet and on my phones, so I have shifted tasks to other devices than my computer.

However, I also just bought another PC because I still can't do everything that I want to on a tablet. Or it's simply difficult and annoying to do these tasks on a tablet.

And regardless... I still think that every single ******* thing is easier to do on a computer with a mouse and a real keyboard.

And on another subject, I'm still waiting for a good device to use on my tv. There is no device that handles the living room tv very well. I've looked into everything from the google tv to rasberry pi, rock paper scissors, roku, etc. They all have shortcomings that I can't deal with.

I think PC's, while they are looking like they're on the decline are still the best option for the things I want to accomplish. What sucks is that it's not people like me that are driving the markets. It's all the ***** tech users that drive the market. It's the people who need Apple's "simplicity" that are driving us towards all of these less functional touch devices that are driving us backwards and forwards at the same time.

**** this, I'm headed to the toilet to take a shit and read reddit on my tablet.

ArthurZ ArthurZ said:

This is why MS Office for Linux makes so much sense!

1 person liked this | Ma_ga said:

Another "the PC is death" article, nice techspot, if you want me to get my news from kotaku, just say it....

NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

"Only 53 percent of tablet owners use their slates to navigate the web."

Say what? About the only thing tablets are good for is surfing the web. If half of them aren't even doing that, then what the hell are people buying these things for. Angry Birds? What a waste of money.

Most people I've seen so far use theirs mainly for netflix and games.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

I bought myself an Android tablet for Xmas last year because I wanted to see for myself what all the fuss was about. Man am I sorry. I'll dump it on some poor unsuspecting chump pretty soon for a couple of clams. That said, my Samsung Galaxy SIII is only used for making/receiving calls and messaging. It's very underutilized and a bling thing. Give me the good old fashioned desktop any day of the week.

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

My Droid 4's security, no matter what I do, monitor or install, is piss poor. I would feel more secure on a Windows XP 32bit PC with AVG Free with outdated virus definitions.

MilwaukeeMike said:

I don't own a tablet because I don't see the point when my PC does everything better.

But... the question still remains, why are PC sales struggling? I think tablets and smart phones are just one factor. Another factor is we've come to the point where your 4 year old PC still handles everything you need it to just fine. Windows 7 doesn't need to be upgraded, and the PC hardware of 2008 forward is still good enough for any non-gamer. The average person wouldn't notice a difference if they upgraded their PC to a newer model. This allows people to use money that would be spent on a new PC on a tablet.

Anyway, people are 'shifting' their use... I really doubt they've got their ipad going and have forgotten about the computer. I'd bet it's more like people are using both together, but that doesn't mean people have stopped using their PC.

Littleczr Littleczr said:

I disagree.. I think the PC is still very viable. Specially for Homework/work. Tablets are only for casual users like My mom.

MrBungle said:

I don't own a tablet because I don't see the point when my PC does everything better.

But... the question still remains, why are PC sales struggling? I think tablets and smart phones are just one factor. Another factor is we've come to the point where your 4 year old PC still handles everything you need it to just fine. Windows 7 doesn't need to be upgraded, and the PC hardware of 2008 forward is still good enough for any non-gamer. The average person wouldn't notice a difference if they upgraded their PC to a newer model. This allows people to use money that would be spent on a new PC on a tablet.

Anyway, people are 'shifting' their use... I really doubt they've got their ipad going and have forgotten about the computer. I'd bet it's more like people are using both together, but that doesn't mean people have stopped using their PC.

Yes exactly, the PC has reached a level of maturity that makes it less and less necessary to upgrade like we did 10 years ago. That and the gap between generations is nothing like it once was, In the late 90's and early 2000's we would see clock speed boots of 2x or more year over year plus architectural improvements every 2 to 3 years every 18-24 months you could buy a system that was easily 4 or 5x faster than what you had even if you had purchased top end parts... Now its 2013 and I'm still wating for something to come out that is noticably faster than the i7 2600K I purchased in january of 2011.

1 person liked this | ReederOnTheRun ReederOnTheRun said:

The PC will never die. Sometimes small and mobile is a major disadvantage.

Lionvibez said:

I'm glad there are people on this site with common sense.

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

A third of PC owners should have never owned a PC.

*fixed*

A heck of a lot of people out there use a computer for the simplest tasks. Any mobile device can do that and some.

1 person liked this | Butch said:

I have tried and tried to justify my tablets. I have had them all and REALLY tried to make them useful not only in my personal life but in business as well. I currently have a iPad3, Windows Surface RT and a Galaxy Note 10.1 and have given them all a fair chance at helping me in business, but you what? They can't. I still use my laptop 100% of the time in business and my desktop at home. With my desktop at home, my laptop for business and my iPhone for communication there simply is no place for a tablet. I use my iPad to read my Amazon Kindle purchased books and that's it. As a matter of fact, I have part of tomorrow set aside to put all these tablets up on eBay. Tablets are a novelty but because I am a tech geek with a serious addiction and disposable income, they are often irresistible to me when a new one is released. I always think: "Maybe this one will be it. Maybe it will be useful". But I am always disappointed. Maybe someday that will change...

1 person liked this | Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

No matter what PCs will never fall, its a never ending market, you will always need a pc.

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

I only partly understand the backlash against Shawn's reporting of the NPD report. Personally, like most of you, can't replace a PC with a tablet or smartphone for most stuff. Thus far the tablet has proven useful for very light browsing/reading when I can't use my laptop, while the smartphone is actually extremely useful as an extension of my PC when I'm away from home or the office.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

...[ ]....Thus far the tablet has proven useful for very light browsing/reading when I can't use my laptop, while the smartphone is actually extremely useful as an extension of my PC when I'm away from home or the office.
Granted these devices have some very worthwhile uses.

With that disclaimer out of the way.

Unfortunately, a large part of the smart phone and tablet market is smoke, mirrors, and plain old BS. It's nonsense that people in marketing sit around concocting, most of which is an affront to human intelligence, and preys on the addictive traits of the human personality.

Does one really need a "weight loss app"? (*) Do you need sports scores to the micro second? Does the weather report change that much over a period of hours, let alone running out your data cap checking your "weather app" every 5 minutes? Are people deluded to the point where they think the wiping their a** is big news, and they feel compelled to "tweet" about it? Are they simply inbred to the point where they've lost the ability to shut their mouth, or be alone for a few minutes?

(*) Eat less, do more! (Does anybody need me to write them an app for that)?

1 person liked this | IceB0x IceB0x said:

When I'm home, I do all my stuff behind pc, travelling with bus to another town, that's when mobile phone comes in.

Guest said:

So actually PC users are buying themselves new gadgets and the press says they are throwing their pc-s into the garbage. Is that intelligent or what?

avoidz avoidz said:

Another one of these articles? They are coming thick and fast lately. Is someone paying you to spread FUD about the PC industry or something?

Yeah, those oh-so-important "tasks" you speak of that are being ripped away from the PC are: checking Facebook, browsing cat pictures, playing Angry Birds. The desktop computer world is in chaos.

1 person liked this | veLa veLa said:

My devices fit together perfectly, some tasks are shared between them of course.

Smartphone: GPS, very good camera, google searches on the go, mobile facebook, couple of fun apps, flashlight.

Computer: Full facebook, powerful for real work like video editing, I can use a real keyboard and write fast, bigger screen, movies are better, no bullshit data plan.

I mean a computer is just way more comfortable to use, especially when you're writing or doing some sort of real task heavy stuff. The best thing about a smartphone is that I can do most the things my computer can do while on the move. It's more difficult, the software has fewer features, but it's helpful when I'm not home.

TJGeezer said:

"The report notes that 37 percent of consumers that used to access content from a computer have now switched to using tablets and smartphones to accomplish the same tasks. Unsurprisingly, accessing Facebook and surfing the web were named as the two most popular mobile activities in the rapidly approaching post-PC era."

Now I see! Because, obviously, if you use a mobile device to check email while riding in a car pool or on a subway, you'll never prefer to use your PC when you get home or to the office. It's either/or,folks, and Science proves it.

Poor PC makers. Like Dell, pulling in flat profits despite a declining overall market and as a result undervalued by about 30%, as some other article pointed out recently. It's only right, because the PC is doomed - DOOMED, I tell you.

Guest said:

A third of pc owners are shifting to mobile devices? The way I read is a third of pc owners ONLY use their pc for light browsing, reading, and accessing social websites. That kind of activities can easily accomplished by mobile device..

Railman said:

Touch screen has its place but in the general office environment it cannot completely replace the keyboard and mouse. One huge advantage of the keyboard is the ability to use it without having to look at it. You can find the keys by touch without accidentally pressing a key.

Quite a few applications are not designed by touch. For example I use two Oraclei based applications which have barely changed over the years. I doubt if touchscreen would work well with Oracle.

Frankly I have been thinking of switching to Linux for my next PC. Why waste money on MS for home use? It looks likely that I will shortly be getting a laptop for work so I still will have access to MS at home.

Shtabaliuk Shtabaliuk said:

Okay look mine scenario just after buying tablet and android-phone last quarter of last year.

I using tablet for reading documents, phone hmm... mine eyes ;)

But so I comfotable at 24"+ monitors at PC or laptop, I even can to type very fast (real fast, not so "aiming game" on tablet or "very hard aiming game" on phone), I can to answer on emails w/o uncomfortable things...

But.. I hasn't Facebook account :) So I not spending "free" time for it.

This is big difference.

PC will be alive and tablets goes own niche (even goes from overheated state right now to normal market state). People like new gadgets. so booming not uncomon state, but boom has end... always. Then you go to normal average state in market sales.

penn919 said:

"Only 53 percent of tablet owners use their slates to navigate the web."

Say what? About the only thing tablets are good for is surfing the web. If half of them aren't even doing that, then what the hell are people buying these things for. Angry Birds? What a waste of money.

Probably for the apps. Many apps exists solely to provide better functionality of applications that could otherwise be accessed on the HTML browser. Ex; Facebook, Youtube, Ebay, Google Drive, Gmail, Twitter, Etc.

steve7 steve7 said:

My devices fit together perfectly, some tasks are shared between them of course.

Smartphone: GPS, very good camera, google searches on the go, mobile facebook, couple of fun apps, flashlight.

Computer: Full facebook, powerful for real work like video editing, I can use a real keyboard and write fast, bigger screen, movies are better, no bullshit data plan.

I mean a computer is just way more comfortable to use, especially when you're writing or doing some sort of real task heavy stuff. The best thing about a smartphone is that I can do most the things my computer can do while on the move. It's more difficult, the software has fewer features, but it's helpful when I'm not home.

I agree, I had a few tablets, a high end gaming computer and a simple laptop, Using a computer with 27" monitor, and keyboard and mouse which is much more confortable to use. Granted if there was a tablet that runs Windows 8 Pro NOT RT, I say again not RT, I would gladly use that tablet more than I use my PC, it will also need to have full sized USB ports and an HDMI so that I can connect my full HD monitor and use my peripherals, I really hate using touch, I'll take a huge monitor, K/B & mouse any day of the week over touch monitor or tablet. I know for sure there are people like me, and we will keep the PC market going, as I always upgrade my hardware.

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