Japan: Where PCs Have Lost their Luster

Personal computers are losing their luster everywhere — blame better smartphones, net-enabled TVs, etc. — but Japan is, as usual, out in front on the issue.

Japan’s PC market is already shrinking, leading analysts to wonder whether Japan will become the first major market to see a decline in personal computer use some 25 years after it revolutionized household electronics — and whether this could be the picture of things to come in other countries.

“The household PC market is losing momentum to other electronics like flat-panel TVs and mobile phones,” said Masahiro Katayama, research group head at market survey firm IDC.

Overall PC shipments in Japan have fallen for five consecutive quarters, the first ever drawn-out decline in PC sales in a key market, according to IDC. The trend shows no signs of letting up: In the second quarter of 2007, desktops fell 4.8 percent and laptops 3.1 percent.


  1. My guess? The home- and business-use PC has finally peaked in terms of horsepower requirements. People have said that on and off over the years, but my wife and I are users with seriously heavy requirements and each time I update our machines I’m noticing the timeframe stretching by six or eight months each time… and the perceived benefit of the new box significantly lessening with each round.
    Gaming PCs are probably the only place this may not yet apply, and I think they’re a pretty small slice of the pie — particularly now that the consoles are pretty good.