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Market Research in the Post-PC Era

Yes, perhaps the discussion about where the "Post-PC Era" begins is close to an end. But what are the implications for our industry?

A few days ago IHS Market Intelligence firm announced that, for the first time in a generation, personal computers (PC’s) no longer consume the majority of the memory chips produced worldwide. This may not be a surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention to personal technology trends during the last few years, but where are all those memory chips going? Tablets and Smartphones: IHS expects phones and tablets combined to consume about 27 percent of the world’s memory chips by 2013, while by that time PCs will consume less than 43 percent, making the decline irreversible by the firm’s forecast.

It took about two-three decades for the PC industry to sell its first billion units, a milestone that Gartner announced in the summer of 2002.

In 2012, people around the world will buy around 655 million smartphones, which would amount to almost twice the number of PCs sold in 2011,  and almost three times the number of notebook PCs that will sell this year, says IHS. And as for tablets, let’s just look at iPad’s numbers: for the last four quarters reported (Q4-2011 through Q3-2012), Apple has sold 55.4 million iPads, which amounts to only 5 million fewer than all the PCs that Gartner says HP sold in 2011.

While PDAs like the Palm Pilot and Microsoft’s Pocket PCs prepared us for living with handheld devices, the Blackberry and the Treo became the first of what we would call “smartphones.”  And with more and more tablets and advanced mobile devices being launched, nowadays it’s entirely possible, though not yet common, to get through modern life without a PC.   I argue myself then if all these numbers and facts are evidence of the beginning of the so-called “Post-PC Era” we’ve been hearing about for so many years…

Yes, perhaps the discussion about where the “Post-PC Era” begins is close to an end.  But what are the implications for our industry?  One of the most important ones, I think, is that the adoption of Mobile Research will become a reality closer than we imagine.  However, more importantly, this time we’ll NEED a different shift from online to mobile than we experienced from telephone to online.  It’s more than adopting a new media or device to collect data, but changing our mind set and the way we do research.  It’s about having the opportunity to connect with people, interact and dialogue with them, in a different and continuous way, at any time, anywhere.  Do you agree? Are you ready for it?


  1. PC Share of DRAM Market Dips Below 50 Percent for First Time (,
  2. It’s Official: The Era of the Personal Computer Is Over (;
  3. PCs Fall Behind In DRAM Market, Losing Ground To Smartphones & Tablets (

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5 responses to “Market Research in the Post-PC Era

  1. It is here. I’ve met too many folks — mostly under 40 — whose computing is exclusively on a Smartphone or Smartphone + Tablet. The PC still excels at more involved content creation (2+ page documents, anything more than a simple spreadsheet and, of course, graphics), but most folks don’t do those things at all, or enough to need a PC anymore. It’s not only devices, the definition of using a device has changed. Smart niche apps do great job of micro-targeting the user interaction so the capabiltiies of a PC are now less necessary.

    Full disclosure. Pinnion and I have a vested interest in this trend, but that doesn’t make the trend any less of a reality.

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