Personal computer sales plunged 14 percent in the first three months of
the year, the biggest decline in two decades of keeping records, as
tablets continue to gain in popularity and buyers appear to be avoiding
Microsoft Corp's new Windows 8 system, according to a leading tech
The huge drop over a year ago, the steepest since
International Data Corp started publishing sales numbers in 1994, mark a
new milestone in the apparent decline of the age of the PC as computing
goes mobile via tablets and smartphones.
Total worldwide PC sales
fell 14 percent to 76.3 million units in the first quarter, IDC said on
Wednesday, exceeding its forecast of a 7.7 percent drop. It was the
fourth consecutive quarter of year-on-year declines.
the lowest level since the middle of 2009, according to competing data
tracker Gartner Inc, which published its own figures showing an 11
percent decline on the same day.
Both firms blamed the sales drop
on fading sales of netbooks, the small laptops that have been rendered
obsolete by tablets, and more consumer spending going toward
"Consumers are migrating content consumption from PCs
to other connected devices, such as tablets and smartphones," said
Mikako Kitagawa, an analyst at Gartner. "Even emerging markets, where PC
penetration is low, are not expected to be a strong growth area for PC
Microsoft's new Windows 8 actually deterred potential PC
buyers, IDC said, as users felt they could not afford touch-screen
models required to make the most of Windows 8, even though the system
runs equally well on standard PCs and laptops.
"People think they
have to have touch, and they go look at the price points for these touch
machines, and they are above where they want to be and they say, 'I
guess I'll wait,'" said Bob O'Donnell, an analyst at IDC.
said other users were simply uncomfortable with the new Windows system,
which dispensed with the familiar start menu and uses colorful 'tiles'
to represent applications.
New Microsoft operating systems usually
boost PC sales, but the lukewarm reception for Windows 8 will likely
mean an even greater drop in the market this year, said Jay Chou, senior
research analyst with the IDC unit that tracks PC sales.
are finding Windows 8 to offer a compromised experience that doesn't
excel either as a new mobile interface or in a classic desktop
interface," he said. "As a result, many users find a decline in the
traditional PC experience without gaining much from new features like
touch. The result is that many consumers are worried about upgrading to
Windows 8, to say nothing of business users who are still just getting
into Windows 7."
Among manufacturers, Hewlett-Packard Co saw a 24
percent decline in sales in the quarter, but narrowly held on to its
title of No. 1 global PC supplier, with 15.7 percent market share.
Fast-growing rival Lenovo Group managed to keep sales flat and is now
just behind HP with a 15.3 percent global share.
Dell Inc, roiled by plans to go private, along with rivals Acer Inc and Asustek, all saw double-digit declines in PC sales.
Inc was not immune from the decline, as some sales of its own Macs
appeared to be displaced by iPads. Its U.S. PC sales fell 7.5 percent in
the quarter, but it held on to its spot as No. 3 U.S. PC manufacturer,
behind HP and Dell.
© Thomson Reuters 2013