The PC Industry Wants You To Upgrade Sooner
The unlikely bedfellows are Lenovo, Dell, and HP. Nevertheless, along with Microsoft and Intel, they are launching a joint marketing campaign starting October 19th, ComputerWorld reports. The “PC Does What?” campaign will be similar to “Got Milk?” or “I Love Eggs” campaigns of the past in that no one particular provider will specifically benefit.
The six-week campaign will cost the companies a collective $70 million. It will focus on the US and China, where more than half of the world’s PCs are sold. The best year in history for the PC industry was in 2011, but since then things have steadily declined. Many factors can be attributed to this, in particular a maturing saturation in the marketplace as well as better equipment than in previous generations. Realistically speaking, most users can still get by with equipment manufactured several years ago.
Indeed, 80% of US households already own PCs, and that seems to be about as much as it will get to until older generations die off. Virtually any US business will have some form of computer system, with few variations, nationwide. This be the case worldwide eventually. But PC makers have struggled to find new pockets to sell to, and thus they consider themselves to be selling upgrades now rather than marketing to a population which at one time was skeptical of the need for computers. “It’s a replacement market,” said analyst Stephen Baker.
Industry figureheads are not focusing on a needs-based strategy in the advertising campaign, but rather on improvements that users may not have knowledge of, hence, “PC Does What?” Dell’s Chief Marketing Officer, Karen Quintos, said in a recent statement, “For consumers and business users alike, entirely new benefits and features come standard in the latest devices. Now is the perfect time to experience what you’ve been missing.”
Even more troublesome for PC manufacturers has been the rise of the mobile device. Lenovo‘s high-end tablet offerings have struggled to penetrate the market in competition with thousands of generic tablets available for cheap. Mobile devices have also risen to fill the void of computing in less-fortunate parts of the world, entirely skipping the PC phase. Mobile devices have also dominated in sales in Western countries, where people spend less and less time at the terminal (outside of work) and more time on their phone or tablet.
Microsoft Joins the Hardware Industry
Microsoft has long manufactured software for the PC, but has never been a PC manufacturer unless one includes Xbox series as computers. In the past couple years, however, the company has released the Surface tablet, a Windows-based competitor to Android tablets and iPads, and now it’s taking it a step further with the Surface laptop.
The introduction of the laptop could explain Microsoft’s involvement in the new marketing campaign, in that the company has traditionally not suffered when PC sales were down, so long as their updated software would work on the older hardware. In most cases, Microsoft’s newer releases will work with the lowest common denominator. Windows 10, for instance, only requires a 1 gigahertz processor and 1 gigabyte of ram, requirements that nearly all modern computers can satisfy or be upgraded to satisfy.