PC sales off to slow start in 2011, ‘usurped’ by the iPad

ipad-2-sold-outPC sales are off to a sluggish start in 2011, brought on, in part, by the overwhelming popularity of Apple’s iPad 2. The consumer PC market is “being usurped” by Apple’s tablet computer, according to analyst Chris Whitmore of Deutsche Bank as reported by AppleInsider.

Whitmore does expect PC sales to rise this year, but not by as much as originally predicted. Whitmore amended his projection for PC sales from nine percent growth down to four percent.  He increased his projected 2011 tablet sales from 40 million to 45 million. By 2012, Whitmore expects that consumers will have purchased some 70 million tablets — a healthy increase from an original prediction of 60 million.

And the vast majority of those 45 million tablets purchased this year will likely be iPads — 35 million according to Whitmore.

“We remain skeptical whether the likes of (HP), Dell, Motorola, Samsung and RIMM etc can close the competitive gap on iPad 2,” Whitmore wrote. “Specifically, iPad challengers must either undercut on price (negative margin implications) and/or offer a superior user experience.”

“In aggregate, we believe iPad will remain dominant with 70% market share. Our tablet unit estimate remains below Consensus due to our concerns that non-iPad tablets will underwhelm,” he added.

Whitmore believes that the iPad’s popularity has also severely undermined the demand for PC notebooks to the extent that close to one out of every three iPad purchasers intend to use the device as a notebook replacement.

While the consumer PC market may be underperforming, demand for PCs in the corporate world is as robust as ever and shows no indications of declining. Whitmore did note, however, that unfortunately for PC makers, corporate sales are not likely to increase enough to offset the slow start  in the consumer market.

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