The rise of smartphones and computer tablets have forced many ecommerce merchants to ask how consumers will access the Internet, and shop. We're curious, too.
We've researched the overall unit sales of personal computers — desktops and laptops — and compared those to unit sales of smartphones and tablets. We've relied mostly on Gartner, the research and advisory firm, for this data — a complete listing of our sources is below — noting actual historical unit sales and what Gartner projects for future sales.
According to Gartner, for 2010, 350.8 million personal computers were sold worldwide. This compares to 296.6 million smartphones sold in that year, and 17.6 million tablets.
For 2011, 364 million personal computers will be sold, says Gartner. Importantly, 468 million smartphones and 63.6 million tablets will be sold. By 2015, Gartner estimates tablet unit sales will be 326 million, and smartphone unit sales will be one billion. Tablet sales by 2015 are likely to roughly parallel PC sales.
As to what devices computers actually shop on — versus read news, check email, send texts, or download music — is another question.
Smartphone Sales 2011, 2015 - Gartner
Smartphone Sales 2009-2010 - Gartner
Smartphone Sales 2007-2008 - Gartner
PC Sales 2010-2011 - Gartner
PC Sales 2009 - Gartner
PC Sales 2008 - Gartner
PC Sales 2007 - Gartner
Tablet Sales 2010-2011, 2015 - Gartner
Tablet Sales 2009 - isuppli.com