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Steepest-ever decline in PC shipments witnessed in Q1 2013

by Mark Tyson on 11 April 2013, 10:15

Tags: Dell (NASDAQ:DELL), Hewlett Packard (NYSE:HPQ), Acer (TPE:2353), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Lenovo, PC

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The latest figures from the International Data Corporation (IDC) don’t paint a pretty picture for the survival of the PC industry as we know it. During Q1 2013 total worldwide PC shipments totalled 76.3 million; this figure represents a 13.9 per cent decline year-on-year and is much worse than the analyst forecasts, which estimated the decline would be nearer to 8 per cent.

A particular weakness in the PC market was in the sales of mini-notebooks. The downturn in this segment has “taken a big chunk out of the low-end market while tablets and smartphones continue to divert consumer spending,” according to the latest IDC report. The report also finds that attempts by the PC industry to combat the growing tablet market has been hampered by three significant issues; 1. Integrating touch screens makes laptops more expensive, 2. Making laptops thinner and lighter also adds to the BOM, 3. Windows 8 has had a “weak reception”.

IDC’s Bob O'Donnell went so far as to say that Windows 8 has actually been a contributor to the slowdown in PC sales. O’Donnell explained that “While some consumers appreciate the new form factors and touch capabilities of Windows 8, the radical changes to the UI, removal of the familiar Start button, and the costs associated with touch have made PCs a less attractive alternative to dedicated tablets and other competitive devices. Microsoft will have to make some very tough decisions moving forward if it wants to help reinvigorate the PC market.”

Looking at the chart above, the sales of Lenovo are a standout figure. The Chinese PC manufacturer is in second place overall but is extremely close to HP, which remains in the top spot. Also Lenovo’s figures are remarkable as it doesn’t seem to have lost any sales, nor gained any with a growth figure of exactly zero per cent. (Looking at the actual numbers it sold 5,000 less PCs in Q1 2013 than in Q1 2012, a figure which is insignificant in the scale of things)

IDC analysts offered some insight about HP and Dell’s situation; it is thought that “restructuring and reorganizing efforts (are) impacting HP and Dell”. Meanwhile, Apple, which isn’t on the Worldwide chart but features on the US chart at position 3 with 10 per cent of the market, saw its sales affected by the popularity of its own iPads, according to IDC.

Overall it was “the magnitude of the contraction” of the PC industry which took analysts by surprise. I hope that a bumper crop of great products, both hardware and software, can breathe some more life into PCs at Computex Taipei this summer. Also a huge amount of people, and businesses, still holding onto Windows XP machines will hopefully do something, including buying new PCs, before this time next year.

HEXUS Forums :: 21 Comments

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Well I am not surprised about the Windows 8 slowdown, personally I like it apart from the Metro interface which I hardly use now, but realistically no-one or hardly anyone was ever going to upgrade their monitor to an expensive touchscreen.
Think about it this way… When was the last time you saw ‘state of the art’ PC components… eveyone has seen i7's for 3+ years now (even though they are different chipsets(people still think they are the same)) and for video cards… compare the 400 series Nvidia to the 500 and even 600 series… Nothing ‘new’ has came out in a few years.
To be honest I'm sitting here with my aging S775 system with an SSD boot drive etc. and all I'm looking to buy is 2xshiny HD monitors…
This is the reality, many people have good enough PC's for the majority of tasks. I might buy a cheap tablet, but then again I might not it's not that compelling!
touchscreens for my home computer does not seem logical it is not ergonomic for me as the monitors are too far away. Touch is for phones, tablets and public facing devices (in store etc), basically any device where the naturaly input method is dispaly interaction.
cursor movement via eye movement is what I want to see !
People under the age of 18 have little of no concept of a PC. They consume and use in a totally different way.

The intel based PC a a horse. Mobile devices are the car.