In tech gadget-crazy Japan, a surprising trend is taking place. Sales of the personal computer — once considered an essential building block and the bastion of all things "tech" — is starting to shrink.
Right now, a typical Japanese youth would rather save up for an expensive headphone, a game console such as Nintendo's Wii or Sony's PlayStation 3, digital camera, or even a flat-screen TV than a computer.
In a report from Tech News World, Japanese college student Masaya Igarashi explained, "A new PC just isn't high on my priority list right now. For the cost, I'll rather buy something else." He noted that his three-year-old desktop was "good for now."
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.Indeed, Sony's PC shipments for Japan shrank 10 percent in 2006 from a year earlier, while NEC's annual PC shipments in Japan shrank 6.2 percent to 2.72 million units in 2006. Even Apple has seen its Macintosh unit sales in Japan slip 5 percent year-on-year in the first nine months of 2007. Hiroyuki Ishii, a sales official at Japan's top PC maker, NEC says, "There seems to be less and less things only a PC can do. The PC's value will fade unless the PC can offer some breakthrough functions."
Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.