IDC: We're in the midst of the 'Great PC Exodus on the Internet'

IDC: We're in the midst of the 'Great PC Exodus on the Internet'

Summary: According to the latest report from IDC, more and more consumers are using their mobile devices as their "default gateway" for accessing the Internet.


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.

Topics: Mobility, Consumerization, Smartphones, Tablets, Tech Industry

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  • Yawn

    Sure we are, which is why IDC is doing all their work on PC's.
    William Farrel
    • Agreed

      While I don't dispute that most people are using their phones more often for certain tasks, PCs aren't going any where. Certain tasks require screens that are significantly larger than "portable" allows.

      If I'm at home on wifi, sure, I'll use my handheld personal computer (with cellular transmitter) to look up certain tasks and shows me a scaled down version of the real thing. That said, if I'm not being lazy, I'll move over to my desktop and have a much easier time accessing, locating, and using said information.
    • The article talks about consumers and internet, not about "work" users

      Work users will continue to use whatever their companies ask them to use, though that is changing too with a lot of BYOD in action. This article refers to consumers who mainly use tablets and mobile for browsing. Any household with kids in middle or high school will tell you that the major browsing activities are done on mobile devices; they use PCs and Macs only for very few activities. Many college going students even pay their college fees on their mobile devices. It is the "instant on" tablets and the "always on" smart phones that drive this trend.
  • The Sum of Your Arguments

    I'm not sure how William Farrel knows that ALL, emphasis added, of IDC's work is on pcs.

    The common thread is that you two are arguing there is a bottom to the market transformation and it will be substantially well above zero.

    This is not inconsistent with IDC's reporting.

    Mobile devices are more expensive than a traditional pc on a spec to spec basis, so, the time to get to the bottom is not likely to be as quick as, say, VHS to DVD, but it is clearly a far steeper slope then 2D TV to 3D TV.
  • If internet traffic has remained stable from pre smartphones and tablets to

    present day Id say IDC had a point. However I suspect that with the adoption of smartphones and tablets we'll find a steady increase in internet traffic. While I do think mobile devices likely do tend to do "some" of the stuff we once did on desktops I doubt this is a sign that desktops are going anywhere.

    Pagan jim
    James Quinn
  • Star Trek NG

    shows a lot of pads being used but when you need a bigger screen its back to some sort of desktop/monitor. Even though it is fiction some of the directions have come true.

    I would need some 12 iPADs (not the mini) duct taped together to give ne the display area that I have on my desktop.
  • A matter of perception

    So... there isn’t so much a PC exodus as there is a growth surge in new people using mobile devices.
  • P.C. Exodus?

    Soon, I will likely be accessing the Internet with both a Tablet and a PC. With the price of tablets so low and being able to get on the Internet with Wi-Fi both at Home and in Public, it is no wonder that people are using both. I will always want a Computer at least for the next few years until they make tablets as powerful as PCs. At home, I want to use a 27" or larger monitor to view the Internet and have almost unlimited power and flexibility. No matter the actual form factor, it means multi-core processors and probably 8 gig of ram or more. I really love my well set up W7 Lenovo computers with i 7 processors with 6 and 8 gig of ram. I will be glad to use a lesser one if I need portability, but for a fixed set up, give me a full fledged computer.
  • Magnifying lens become mandatory equipment, if one is going to browse using

    smartphones and tablets.

    Which then leaves a person with just one hand to hold the device and make entries into it at the same time.

    Meanwhile, I've never needed a magnifying lens with screens on notebooks or laptops or desktops, so, most of my internet usage will still be done with one of those bigger devices. The PC is still the most useful device for the web or any other type of computing.
  • WHAT the...

    IDC is a noted (and I mean, witinin the industry) discomfabulator of reality when it comes to their statistics. They traditionally overstate one statistic while ignoring other connected and vital statistics. NOT an honorable company in the least and certainly NOT to be quoted or trusted.

    PC's serve a broad spectrum of use; smartphones and tablets a small spectrum of use (email and internet, primarily). That they -- smartphones and tablets -- are increasing in use shows only that non-pc users (defined as those who find pc's too difficult or intimidating to use) finally have a ready and easy device(s) to use. I predict the opposite of IDC: PC users who switch now to tablets will eventually discover that they prefer their PC's in the end.
  • Hilarious To See The Microsoft Fans Hemming And Hawing Over This

    It's almost like they've forgotten about Microsoft's ongoing attempts to remain relevant in the post-PC era. Or have they already unconsciously written off those efforts, in spite of all their previous loud protestations to the contrary?
    • How more ignorant can you get? Microsoft is and has been, in the mobile

      arena for quite some time now, and they're getting into that field, BIG TIME, with new smartphones and new tablets and new OSes and new laptops and ultrabooks, and new online properties, like Bing and Internet Explorer and Skype and SkyDrive, etc.

      When it comes to post-PC, which far too many people believe means, just mobile services served via tiny/mobile devices, then, Microsoft is also "post-PC". However, they also remain very relevant in the desktop and laptop area, while also trying to keep the enterprise players with an OS which plays well across all form-factors.

      While I realize that, your comments are just meant to diminish and demonize all things Microsoft, you also should examine the reality all around you, and stop the idiotic posts.
  • " also should ... stop the idiotic posts."

    Try taking your own medicine.

    He didn't say anything derogatory about Microsoft, but pointed out how all the MS fanatics were falling over themselves to deny the premise of the article.

    I see you took the bait good and hard.
    • You should start reading more, and paying more attentiion, because, Ido17

      is a well-known anti-MS troll, whose only purpose in life is to get on ZDNet and hunt down any mention of Microsoft, and then to bash them, no matter what the issue or device or software being discusses.

      There is never any "bait" in any of his posts, since, his negative comments are all his does with his life, especially when it comes to anything pertaining to Microsoft.

      So, it turns out that, it's you that now sounds like an idiot, because, you don't understand what I was talking about, and you don't know what Ido17 is all about.
      • "...ldo17 is a well-known anti-MS troll..."

        Really? So, your slavish adoration of Microsoft is OK, but he must be wrong if he doesn't agree with you? Yep, that sounds fair.

        BTW, being insulting to others who don't share your opinions doesn't exactly help your own cause.
  • 0_o

    All this article claims is that 1 in 16 people who currently use a PC will realise their tablet will cover their needs, and wont upgrade the PC in 4 years time.

    I think we all knew that already.
  • "this is happening because the PC was never truly a consumer product."

    Completely true.

    The only issue now is whether businesses will produce anything for users like us who do take advantage of the true power of a pc now that we stand a good chance of shaking all these rats from our necks. Just like everything and everywhere else, the entire ecosystem is ruined by the tourists.

    So hopefully we won't hear from them anymore, but I have a feeling they'll remember who we are when malware becomes more prevalent on their worthless tablets.