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As mobile devices power on, PC sales register worst drop in history

PC sales have kept going south in this year's first quarter, despite the fact that Windows 8 has shipped with a lot of new devices, data by IDC and Gartner reveals.
April 11, 2013
desktop pc

The decline of PC sales continues, with data from IDC showing the largest drop in shipments since data has been first tracked. The fact that Windows 8 has started shipping with PCs didn’t seem to be of too much help, either.

Worldwide PC shipments have been, according to the IDC Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, at 76.3 million units, a decrease of 13.9 percent compared to the same time last year, and worse than the predicted forecast (which was at 7.7 percent).

Gartner preliminary results (final data should be available soon) say that 79.2 million units have been shipped, mentioning an 11.2 percent decline compared to the same time last year.

In terms of manufacturers leading in terms of PC shipments worldwide, both studies tend to agree – HP is still leading the market, with 15.7 percent market share in the IDC data, down from 17.7 percent for the same time last year (14.8 percent, down from 17.2 percent,  in Gartner data). HP has shipped 11.9 million units (down from 15.7 million in last year’s first quarter) – 11.6 million, a drop from 15.3 million in Gartner data.

Lenovo maintains figures

Lenovo, on the other hand, has experienced growth in terms of market share, and is in second position, very close to HP, with a market share of 15.3 percent, up from 13.2 percent, in IDC data, and 14.7 percent, up from 13.1 in Gartner data. In terms of shipments, Lenovo has sent out 11.700.000 units, as compared to 11.705.000 in last year’s first quarter, according to IDC, and 11.666.000 units in this year’s first quarter, versus 11.652.000 in last year’s first quarter (Gartner data).

Dell was third, with a market share of 11.8 percent, down from 11.4 percent (last year’s first quarter, according to IDC); Gartner data says Dell has maintained an 11 percent market share, the same as the one in last year’s first quarter. Dell has shipped, according to IDC, 9.01 million units, compared to 10.1 in last year’s first quarter, and 8.7 million units versus 9.8 during last year’s first quarter, according to Gartner’s preliminary data.

Acer Group and Asus are in fourth and fifth position in both studies. The IDC graph below shows year on year growth rates up to this quarter.

Year on year pc sales IDC data

Both studies include desktop and mobile PCs, as well as mini-notebooks, but not tablets. An interesting observation is that the professional PC area has actually grown, the reason being equipment refreshing, according to Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner.

Who’s to blame?

Windows 8 didn’t help the lagging PC business, as touchscreen PCs running it were only a small fraction of the units that were shipped, with consumers not prepared to pay more to get the extra functionality, according to Isabelle Durand, Gartner principal research analyst.

Bob O’Donell from IDC said that the Windows 8 launch didn’t provide the expected boost, appearing to have slowed the market. He added that, while some consumers appreciate what the new OS brings to the table, the lack of the Start button, as well as the cost of making touchscreen devices have made PCs less appealing to customers than other devices, such as tablets.

This conclusion can only be positive for Android, as the IDC Smart Connected Device Tracker was predicting a decline in PC sales in favor of tablets not long ago.

What do you think? Will the PC eventually disappear completely, will it remain nothing more than a professional tool, or will it see a comeback?