Sales for personal computers have declined, thanks to consumer interest in tablets. A recent preliminary report from Gartner shows that PC shipments worldwide have remained slow and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s recent release of Windows 8 did nothing to help increase interest in computer sales.

tablet vs pc

The findings show that PC shipments for the fourth quarter of 2012 declined 4.9 percent from the fourth quarter 2011. These results are similar to the results found from International Data Corporation’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. They noted a 6.4 percent fall during the same quarter.

The decline in PC sales can easily be attributed to the rise in tablet sales. Gartner’s principal analyst, Mikako Kitagawa, explained, “Tablets have dramatically changed the device landscape for PCs, not so much by ‘cannibalising’ PC sales, but by causing PC users to shift consumption to tablets rather than replacing older PCs.”

He further predicts that more users will use tablets for personal consumption and use shared PCs for administrative/creative pursuits. He added that although there are some people who opt for both  a PC and tablet in their household, the vast majority won’t replace their PC and use a tablet instead.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s recent release of Windows 8 didn’t boost computer sales as initially thought, and this past holiday season just reaffirmed the disappointment.

In the United States alone, personal computer shipments totaled 17.5 million units just this past quarter. Despite the significant decline, professional PC sales enjoyed some growth. In the U.S, the numbers are a little different than they are with the rest of the world. Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) still leads personal computer sales,  Dell takes second place, and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) sits at third place. Lenovo Group Limited (PINK:LNVGY) (HKG:0992) and Acer Incorporated (TPE:2353) take fourth and fifth spots respectively.

Interesting enough, last week a research firm called NPD shared their prediction that tablet shipments will reach over 240 million units to create a 64% year over year growth.

The era of the tablet has arrived.