PC sales suffer “longest decline in history”

PC shipments fell for the fifth quarter in a row, marking the longest trend of decline in the market’s history.

PC sales suffer

Shipments fell 10.9% in the second three months of the year, plunging to 76 million units year on year, according to Gartner.

“This marks the fifth consecutive quarter of declining shipments, which is the longest duration of decline in the PC market’s history,” it said.

The company said PC sales had been damaged by the growing popularity of comparatively cheap tablets.

“In emerging markets, inexpensive tablets have become the first computing device for many people, who at best are deferring the purchase of a PC,” said analyst Mikako Kitagawa.

Gartner has previously blamed falling sales on fading sales of netbooks and growing consumer spend on smartphones. “This is also accounting for the collapse of the mini notebook market,” added Kitagawa.

Windows 8 to blame?

IDC released similarly gloomy figures, pinning the decline at 11.4% and again blaming Windows 8 for the continued decline in PC sales. The firm said the fall reflected a market that was “still struggling with the transition to touch-based systems running Windows 8”.

But like other analysts, Kitagawa suggested the picture was more complex, with the growing popularity of mobile devices and the extended lifecycle of PCs also at play. Kitagawa pointed out there was also a sales decline in non-Windows machines, namely Macs.

“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,” she said.

According to both firms, Lenovo is now the leading PC maker after managing to keep sales flat and knocking HP off the top spot for the first time. Dell managed to stave off a severe decline in sales after strong growth in the US and Japan, but rivals Acer and Asus saw double-digit drops.

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