While PC sales are better than they have been in the past, Ingram Micro CEO Alain Monie said they are no longer the "center of the universe" for the distributor as the business still lags.
"Our PC sales were flat at best, although when you compare them to last year they were minus 12 last year. So the comparisons are good, but the business is not that great in terms of PCs," Monie said during an appearance Tuesday on CNBC.
Global PC demand has been "very, very low" for PCs for the past couple of years, Monie said. In Ingram's first-quarter 2014 earnings call, Ingram Micro President and COO Paul Read said the distributor has seen PC sales growth in the "low single digits."
Research firm IDC reported last month that it expected PC sales to dip 6 percent over 2014. That outlook, however, is an improvement over the 10.1 percent drop the research firm predicted for 2013 in December of last year.
The refresh cycle for PCs was long overdue, Monie said, and the distributor saw a short-term, immediate boost as users looked to refresh their equipment. While the refresh would have happened naturally, he said, refreshes due directly to the expiration of Windows XP added an extra boost to PC sales. Ingram Micro has been seeing the effects of that refresh for the past couple of quarters, he said, and anticipates that it might extend into the second half of 2014.
Looking down the road, Monie said the effect that tablets are having on the PC market is undeniable. However, the rise of mobility isn't necessarily a sign of the death of the PC, and it definitely isn't a bad market shift for the distributor as end users demand a growing collection of devices, he said.
"I think we'll have both, as already is starting to be the case," Monie said. "It is good for everyone's business. If you look at the evolution of technology, to a certain extent there is cannibalization of devices but if you look at yourself, you probably carry three devices or five devices if you include what you have at home."
Monie said end users should expect to have a tablet, phablet, mobile phone and PC as part of their technology arsenal in the future. While the PC is still part of that, Monie said that it is no longer the be-all and end-all of the technology conversation but a part of the overall move toward mobility.
"That is what's going on in the industry now and I would say, on the one hand, PCs are going to be less of the center of the universe," Monie said. "Mobility is the center of the universe as far as devices, but they will complete each other."
PUBLISHED JUNE 25, 2014