International Data Corporation analysts are adding more fuel to the argument that we are entering the midst of the post-PC era.
According to the latest report from the global market intelligence firm, more and more consumers are using their mobile devices as their "default gateway" for accessing the Internet.
This is expected to be most prevalent in the United States, with similar trends projected for Western Europe and Japan within two years.
Domestically, IDC researchers expect the number of consumers accessing the Internet through PCs to drop from 240 million in 2012 to 225 million by 2016.
That might not seem like much, but the more staggering figure is the jump for mobile users.
IDC forecasts that the number of consumers using primarily mobile devices (i.e. smartphones and tablets) to jump from 174 million to 265 million within that same time frame.
While describing this as the "Great PC Exodus on the Internet" might seem a bit dramatic, Karsten Weide, program vice president of Media & Entertainment at IDC, argued in the report that "this is happening because the PC was never truly a consumer product."
"Many consumers use them because there was no better alternative. Now, with the huge and growing installed base of more user-friendly tablets and smartphones, there are," Weide added.
In related IDC news, another report recently published by the research firm posited that growth for the mobile phone market is returning to more robust and healthy levels.
Specifically, IDC reported that the global mobile phone market grew by 2.4 percent in Q3 2012 on an annual basis, which would account for more than 444 million mobile phones. That's up from 434 million units in the same quarter a year ago.