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comScore: Data Suggests U.S. Desktop Use Has Passed Its Peak and Now Declining

     
5:05 pm on Apr 16, 2016 (gmt 0)

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The data from comScore usually shows patterns that help forward thinking marketers, so this latest indicator is particularly telling. Its suggested that desktop use has passed its peak and is now declining. If it were just one month you'd just put it down to abberations, but, as it appears to show a trend, it should be noticed.

What do your stats indicate?

Data from the research company indicate overall time spent online in the U.S. from desktop devices—which include laptop computers—has fallen for the past four months, on a year-over-year basis. It dipped 9.3% in December 2015, 7.6% in January, 2% in February and 6% in March. comScore: Data Suggests U.S. Desktop Use Has Passed Its Peak and Now Declining [wsj.com]


https://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/BN-NO387_cmocom_M_20160414180020.jpg
12:21 am on Apr 26, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Not so sure that "lost favor" is the right term. More likely what we have is that those who couldn't see a need for a desktop, or never felt "computer" have simply ended up with internet enable phones, which just about everybody recognize as a device worth having (and easy to use).

Those folks in the middle who wanted internet and all that meant, before the phones became capable, bought desktops or laptops. Now they don't ave to ... and that is a much larger audience than those who use computers to do actual work.

Are PC sales down? Probably. User end choice for the internet has many options that did not exist 5 years ago. Will the Desktop disappear? Not a chance. Not until a smart phone can do everything a desktop can ... and that's not quite yet.
1:34 pm on Apr 28, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Your website has to be mobile now.


Why? Cell phone users don't buy. I have yet to see a mobile user make a purchase from my site. Desktop and tablet only. My site is responsive, but it has not helped. Maybe we should start a new thread on how to get mobile users to buy. I'm guessing they'd need a one click checkout solution...but then there's trust....who trusts the security of their mobile phone? not me.
8:30 pm on Apr 29, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Is the laptop v tablet/phone distinction the most appropriate? I would have thought that screen size would be a better metric.
8:46 pm on Apr 29, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@samwest - cell phone users certainly do buy.

After going responsive I had to play around with the buy pages numerous times, changing the presentation and simplify to the point where only explicit info was displayed.

Mobile purchases are slowly climbing at a steady rate.
2:46 am on Apr 30, 2016 (gmt 0)

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My site is responsive, but it has not helped


GAG .... the past year has been HORDES of web devs spreading the "responsive" salvation to your lowly website, heck their are entire outfits that do nothing
but pound and pester every single business in x square miles spreading the "responsive" mobile b/s site fooling every non tech manager / owner that they'll get
5304985093485080349543508934 more phone calls and buyers because.... MOBILE FIRST! of course we also carry a hefty monthly retainer as well to make sure
you stay on top place of the goooooogle , i guess this works for them for a few months, suck 10k out of an unsuspecting biz and move on.

I swear web outfits are morphing into the get rich quick tech scams.
6:09 am on Apr 30, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Let us be honest with each other.

1. The PC market IS down. Heck, WD and other HDD makers of spinning rust AS WELL AS SDD makers are seeing drops across the board. So there is a decline.

2. Phones, in particular, are used for communication, maybe a bank, and to find a fish and chips location. The REST of the time it is used for entertainment (games for kids or those who still think like kids, news or music or video for commuters, or trolls ... yes, they have a life, too!)

3. Phone users are interrupted by other phone users FAR MORE frequently than desktop users (Sorry... gotta take this or I'll be just a moment or I'll be right back or I told you not to call me!).

4. Phone sales are DOWN as well. Apple reports first losing quarter in 13 years (example). The market place is getting saturated ... or like that fad diet rumored to heal all has been debunked and commonsense is coming back into play.

Is it going away? Will it die? Are we DOOMED?

No. Just changed. It is all cycles of human behavior. Learn that concept, anticipate how people do things, recognize not just your local economy but global as well, and your bottom line can be protected much better.

Back to the subject: PC/Desktop is in decline. And it is. At a consumer level; however, I sincerely doubt that many of us (or even a large number) will give up their hold on managing their own data on their own systems (platter or flash) until the grim reaper takes them away. That is the only place you can control your site, your biz, etc. The cloud is seductive, of course, but I won't be going there. Last thing I want to be is a dumb terminal connected to a megaopoly!
3:58 am on May 2, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Yep, market saturation 100% Look back at the flat screen rush, that lasted years...and fell off, sorry people don't buy TVs every 2 years.. they kept coming up with gimmicks and really still are trying to get people to ditch and buy buy buy buy... 3d, curved, now 4k which 4k isn't really a gimmick its the way its headed, but out side of a PC nothing is displaying 4k content.

phones...super hot, finally that is dying off and even apple is feeling it... sorry people aren't going to keep buying $$$$ devices every single year.

ok now tabs.... the fad died.. pretty quick too.

These companies just keep trying to reinvent something to make consumers dump open their wallets every 6 months to a year like a never ending money train...and they are running out of tricks.

Also people don't need to go out and drop full price on a new machine... refurb/used and current upgrades breath life into old stuff making it new again....even apple machines have reached saturation to the point of 2nd hand referb sales.

Everything as a whole has leveled off and the break neck spending is over...if it doesn't die "and they can't repair" they don't replace.

Gaming is still driving desktop PC sales, new titles are pushing older hardware out the door, VR takes some serious hardware.... 4k takes a stupid amount of hardware. Game devs have finally started programing for multi core systems and its crushing just a few year old top of the line hardware.

PC gaming is mainstream as consoles now with steam / origin etc ...and its overtaking all the consoles COMBINED . Its easy to poll vanilla box OEMs and show a desktop decline, of course that kind of desktop is in decline...but that doesn't mean ALL ARE, sure nobody is buying HP/IBM/DELL towers. but they are buying custom ones... like a firestorm.
4:01 am on May 2, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Just an example of how wide open VR is taking this

[youtube.com...]

All of this running from a desktop.

Its a new world!
12:13 pm on May 2, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Samsung Gear VR headset needs no desktop, just a game app from Samsung smart TV.
3:07 pm on May 2, 2016 (gmt 0)

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that is apples to bowling balls.

*shaking head*

Going to fire up your steam library and VR game with your samsung TV app? *loud buzzing noise*

All of the non PC VR sets are little more then the modern day viewmaster.
4:06 pm on May 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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We all have to remember that it's the software that makes any machine worthwhile, whether it's a tablet, smartphone, laptop, desktop, or dumb terminal. If you can do everything you want on the hardware you have, you don't need to upgrade.

This constant upgrade cycle with desktop computers broke a while back when the hardware was powerful enough to run the advanced software coming onto the market. For example, how much faster does your processor need to be to run your word processing! There have been a few exceptions, of course, and VR is going to be the next big thing that needs plenty of power. Putting a smartphone into a strange looking headset is a geeky phase where only the early adopters will latch on. Yes, gaming is going to keep the desktop going strong, and the demand will continue for some time to come, imho.

Back to webmastering - there's no doubt that people are using mobile much more: It's convenient, it's fast, and easy to use wherever you are. It's also brought more people online at the same time. For example, there used to be one computer in the house, but now, all the people in the house have a smartphone or tablet.
As webmasters we have a wide range of ways to deliver our information or ecommerce sales. One of the ways to solve the smartphone conundrum is to provide users with an app of the ecommerce store or information. Enabling a purchase via an app helps solve the problem of making a website mobile compatible.
5:12 am on May 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Take all these guys and put their sites in a tab....or laptop.
They forget that whole back end is run by big screaming machines.

Yet they are for some reason totally oblivious to hardware power....and hardware requirements.

Go run your ecom / webdev outfit from your mobile device and come back and tell me how dead "x hardware" is

and why even the hate? if you don't like it don't run it...but don't bash it... thats silly.... but as much as you want.. AMD and NVIDIA are not going to stop manufacturing video cards bigger
then your entire laptop......cause yea...they are just doing this for no reason right? a TV and a phone can do that?

web people are just living in some kind of tech disconnect area where they think the ipod touch is the hot tech of the new era...while discounting everything that takes up any space on a desk as the pyramids of Egypt .......... again..... what runs your websites.. not phones I promise.

The on desk power requirement is real, 1000 watts on the desk is VERY normal.

You can't thumb your nose up to the world just because your job can be done on a touch screen.

Short sight.....Narrow Mind........ Oblivious?

The web crowd takes the cake....every time.


and VR is going to be the next big thing that needs plenty of power


outside of VR... gaming is already demanding 8GB+++++++ video cards, those single cards probably have more ram and wattage then most everyones entire mobile computer..... let alone the audacity to say "my TV can do that" the cost of these single cards cost more then entire high end laptops.

ROLLING ON THE FLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOR.

outside of VR... just plain 4k is driving the market like a train with no brakes... look up the cost to drive a 4k game on max at 60 frames

heck look up 4k monitor cost........
5:40 am on May 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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My 4k 60" tv w/ quadcore processor runs cloud based VR games just fine. Cost less than you think. I do pay a little extra for a higher speed wifi plan but well woth it since everything in my music studio uses it.
7:31 am on May 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@piatkow
"a highish spec laptop gives me all the processing power I need. I can just about get by without going to the trouble of connecting the nice flat screen from my old desktop but I do need a proper keyboard."

A docking station setup will give you both those [and mouse if you like], and only require you to disengage one USB3 cable whenever you want to move away with the laptop. I used to run 2 large TVs as monitors off my old high-spec laptop, and use the laptop screen for messaging, notes etc.
7:44 am on May 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@J RaD
"Even pros don't properly understand that a high end mobile processor, can't even sit at the same table as a lower end desktop chip.
laptops have been choked and gagged under "battery battery battery battery" thin, low watt, low heat...offend no one...be nice...sunshine rainbows."

Not sure what pros you've listened to, but a high-end laptop can certainly outperform a lower-end desktop. My i7 high-end laptop showed quite a noticeable boost over the i3 desktop it replaced, when setup in desktop replacement mode. Comparative chip performance charts will show the same result for most uses.

I agree with your second sentence where you talk about low-end laptops, a completely different animal. But then, for cheaper than many phones or laptops, how can one complain?
8:08 am on May 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I compared a cheap (i5) and high-end laptop (i7) recently, and the performance of the cheap unit was so relatively poor for webmastering it was a waste of time. I went for the high-end laptop which used full SSD, i7, and was thin, lightweight, and had a phenomenal battery life. For me, the only disadvantage when on-the-go, from my desktop, was the lack of multiple screens: The price paid for on-the-go webmastering.

VR is going to be gaming, and many, many niche sectors. The VR from a smartphone is an entry level device, even though most high-end smartphones are relatively powerful devices and probably overpowered for what most people do with the phones. I can imagine VR desktops, just as there are gaming desktops.
Will the TV become the processor? I'm not so sure it will unless the whole family plays along. Computing really has become a personal thing with a screen for every person.
9:10 am on May 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Love the passion. Don't get it as the report merely indicates that sales has changed, not the use or value of any particular product. Fewer sales of desktop will make the others look better. The OTHER reason for PC sales decline is that machines (desktop) live longer and are robust enough for software (once you reach the 64bit ability) that folks are not playing the upgrade game any longer. But still use the desktop.

Reality (re: laptop and desktop) is that even the best high end laptop, when run at full power to achieve near or the same ability of a desktop has a battery life of a handful of seconds. PLUG IT IN and use it that way you just have a smaller desktop. :)
3:58 am on May 6, 2016 (gmt 0)

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My i7 high-end laptop showed quite a noticeable boost over the i3 desktop it replaced


that is a kinda meh DUAL CORE vs a quad core.. of course.. BUT, you had an i3, you could have simply done an chip upgrade... same socket...saved $$$

but at the same time, when you upgraded to the i7 you probably upgraded chipsets and to a faster.. SSD? DDR3 single chan? dual chan? DDR4? Lots of other factors that make speed other then just the processor... was your desktop single channel? what was the speed of the ram? 1600? 1800? 2100?

If it was a cheap desktop im guessing you got the slowest of the slow, and if you got an i7 laptop...you probably got the more tasty bits... its a lot more then just the processor.

You could probably drag that i3 out of the ditch with a few proper upgrades vs ram speed and HDD... OEM stuff always makes me cry..they will pull crap off the shelf and mix match parts to move the product at the best price.

If you match desktop and mobile toe to toe, its no contest.
4:04 am on May 6, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Will the TV become the processor? I'm not so sure it will unless the whole family plays along. Computing really has become a personal thing with a screen for every person.


They have been saying this for the past many many years....smart TV this, etc.. it never happens.. and they keep making gaming consoles which are now just computers to fill in the gaps.
people are still using HTPCs. I've got a PC hooked to my flat screen, i've got web, gaming, Bluray, you name it all in one place. wireless keyboard track pad combo and lets go.

Sure you can do all of that with smart TV here....other device here....but when you have the full power of a computer.. you don't have to swtich around, ITS ALL THERE.. SAME PLACE.

I can even fire up emulators and do classic gaming.

I can use 10 lower power solutions, or 1 high power one.

Simple choice.
4:09 am on May 6, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Reality (re: laptop and desktop) is that even the best high end laptop, when run at full power to achieve near or the same ability of a desktop has a battery life of a handful of seconds. PLUG IT IN and use it that way you just have a smaller desktop. :)


nothing about battery life...you can't move the heat fast enough, it would be thermal shut down.

Go order a high end air cooled heat sink *THUNK* some weigh so much i worry about motherboard stress.. im talking POUNDS.

Then you go to a high end AMD....air is out of the question, 225 watt chip, FULL WATER LOOP or burn your house down.
4:19 am on May 6, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Fewer sales of desktop will make the others look better. The OTHER reason for PC sales decline is that machines (desktop) live longer and are robust enough for software (once you reach the 64bit ability) that folks are not playing the upgrade game any longer. But still use the desktop.


Exactly what I said, but at the same time EVERYTHING has reached saturation. All device sales will show flat if you look at them..but yes as I said desktops LIVE.. parts quality has gotten SO GOOD... I haven't had a single failed unit in 7 years *quality parts of course*

But zero fail rate on HUNDREDS......desktops these days might out last their owners.

No need to upgrade.....very strong 2nd hand market....in place upgrades....builders like me, 3rd party builders..... there is an entire industry thriving under those dwindling numbers.
Its so easy to take a sloppy OEM build stick under 100 in proper upgrades and give it the speed it should have shipped from the factory with.

Power to the people!
7:53 am on May 6, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I haven't had a single failed unit in 7 years *quality parts of course*


Sadly, I did experience a failure on a desktop machine. It was the power supply that died. Being modular, it's easy to replace it and no need to buy a new machine.

I agree about laptops: they are a compromise.

Back to the original topic, i'd also add that in developed markets there's saturation, and new markets are often just going straight to tablets and smartphones.
2:12 pm on May 6, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@ J RaD
"If you match desktop and mobile toe to toe, its no contest."

Sure, I agree. I was merely pointing out that industry performance charts show a high-end mobile chip does outperform a low-end desktop chip.

Otherwise I agree with all you're saying. My laptop was a circumstantial purchase due to travelling for a couple of years, I left the i3 behind. That's the only laptop I've used extensively, I've been back in happy desktop land for a couple of years.

@engine
"in developed markets there's saturation, and new markets are often just going straight to tablets and smartphones"

Yes, smartphones are the main product selling in the 3rd world. However, I expect desktops and laptops will follow on later when those economies improve enough for information work to become a ROI factor.
1:26 pm on May 7, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Who is on a real desktop machine these days anyways besides old people and gamers?

Millennials...hmph..we may be old but there are still a lot of us around and we're the majority of buyers online. Eventually when eyes fail, thumbs fall off or you finally decide to do some serious work, you learn to use the power a desktop.
3:19 am on May 8, 2016 (gmt 0)

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performance charts show a high-end mobile chip does outperform a low-end desktop chip


But as i was pointing out...its a lot more then just the chip...which is why i was asking the other questions. chipsets, ram channels, ram speeds, SSD vs non SSD all play a roll in
performance.

You might be thinking wow this laptop is super fast, and it could all be based on the fact it has an SSD or something.. (example)

but then you crank it up on some video render / conversion and it falls on its knees.

Lots of factors outside of just the *chip* but mobile chips ALWAYS have an Achilles heel , power consumption, heat dissipation... mobile chips are VERY limited....they have to keep cool, and they have to sip power. none of that is conducive to speed speed speed.


Yes, smartphones are the main product selling in the 3rd world


Yes they are, but I don't think anyone here would exactly call the kind of phone sold in the 3rd world as "smart"
they use them as a tool...and the next on their todo list is .. clean water, and food. These people don't even have power to their homes.

99.99999999999999999% chance the 3rd world is nobodies market here.
4:11 am on May 8, 2016 (gmt 0)

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The OP is about US desktop use. Just a reminder. :)

There is one thing about a desktop that is different from the others:

A desktop is not portable (in the strictest sense). It requires a location, a power grid. and a seated operator (though "seated" is not essential, you can work standing up or with surface/touch/sketch add ons).

What is coming into play is mobility ... and few countries are as "mobile" as the USA. A population tends to take "everything" with them as they move about and laptops, tablets and phones makes that so much easier.
6:46 pm on May 8, 2016 (gmt 0)

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heh... Could it just be that desktop users find that there is less and less
material of any consequence out there to bother bother burning up their
waking hours in front of a glowing screen? Just sayin'....
Jonesy
6:54 pm on May 8, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Hadn't thought of that @Jonesy! You could be right!
3:52 pm on May 12, 2016 (gmt 0)

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A population tends to take "everything" with them as they move about and laptops, tablets and phones makes that so much easier.


that everything is not work...nobody is doing real work from a phone or tab....taking their social lives on the go? sure
work... c'mon. Also mobile doesn't help or hinder this...dropbox? onedrive? sure your mobile is now an access device but your desktop is not a hindering factor in anything these days.. your knowledge level is though.


you can work standing up or with surface/touch/sketch add ons).
you do know you can tether a tab to a desktop and use it right? a desktop is not a limiting factor...it is the unlimited power center... in which all "real" work returns to.

if you can conduct your entire work life from a phone...or tab.......its either on the go manual labor.. or a job that isn't going to be around in the next few years.
4:02 am on May 26, 2016 (gmt 0)

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also more proof

[youtube.com...]

mobile sucks.
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