PC Shipments Fall By 10.9 Percent As Record Slump Continues – Gartner

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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PC shipments fall for the fifth consecutive quarter, but Gartner refuses to blame Windows 8

Year-on-year worldwide PC shipments fell for the fifth consecutive time during the second quarter of 2013, this time by 10.9 percent, marking the longest duration of decline in the industry’s history.

Gartner says shipments were 10.9 percent less than in the second quarter of 2012, falling to 76 million as consume have been tempted away by smartphones and tablet. Unlike IDC, Gartner refused to blame Windows 8 for the decline, saying the operating system had an impossible task to reverse the slide.

“While Windows 8 has been blamed by some as the reason for the PC market’s decline, we believe this is unfounded as it does not explain the sustained decline in PC shipments, nor does it explain Apple’s market performance,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner.

Gartner PC shipments

Windows 8 TilesAnalysts said tablets were replacing many low-end machines in developed markets and were becoming many people’s first PCs in emerging markets, who were at the very least deferring the purchase of a laptop or desktop computer.

Shipments fell in all regions, with HP and Lenovo still battling it out at the top for global supremacy. The Chinese manufacturer Lenovo took first place with 12.677 million shipments and 16.7 percent of the market, ahead of HP’s 12.403 million and 16.3 percent of the market.

In third place, Dell suffered a smaller decline than the previous quarter, while Asus and Acer were hit hard by their exit strategies from the almost extinct netbook market.

The US was the only region that arrested the PC slide to any degree thanks to solid growth in the professional market. Gartner’s Ranjit Atwal told TechWeekEurope that this was due to growth in the public sector as well as businesses migrating from Windows XP ahead of Microsoft’s withdrawal of support next year.

Windows impact

Atwal said there would be a small window of opportunity for the PC market next year ahead of the XP deadline, but this would not be  a long term trend. Although Windows 8 has not proved universally popular, Atwal said the majority of businesses would choose that or Windows 7 due to the absence of any viable alternative.

Chromebooks have not had a huge impact on the market, but Atwal said the fact they were not being rejected entirely was a good sign for Google and suggests the current generation of consumers are not averse to cloud-based computing.

He added that Q4 was seen as a critical one for the PC market as more hybrid products based on Haswell architecture hit the market. Currently, touch-based notebooks account for less than ten percent of all consumer notebook shipments.

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