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Holiday PC sales declined in 2012 for first time in five years

Updated Jan 11th, 2013 9:49AM EST

The post-PC era is arriving faster than many of us had expected. New research from IDC shows that global PC sales in the fourth quarter of 2012 actually shrank by 6.4%, marking the first time in five years that holiday PC sales have slid. This comes despite the fact that Microsoft (MSFT) launched a $1.5 billion marketing blitz to promote the new Windows 8 operating system that launched this past fall, and IDC analyst Jay Chou says that all of those marketing dollars did very little to promote sales of Windows 8 machines.

“Although the third quarter was focused on the clearing of Windows 7 inventory, preliminary research indicates the clearance did not significantly boost the uptake of Windows 8 systems in Q4,” he said. “Lost in the shuffle to promote a touch-centric PC, vendors have not forcefully stressed other features that promote a more secure, reliable and efficient user experience. As Windows 8 matures, and other corresponding variables such as ultrabook pricing continue to drop, hopefully the PC market can see a reset in both messaging and demand in 2013.”

As far as individual vendors go, IDC found that HP (HPQ) retained its top spot in the PC market with a 16.7% share despite seeing its overall sales drop by 0.6% year-over-year. Lenovo came in second with a 15.7% share and was the only major PC vendor to see its total sales significantly grow from the previous year. On the down side, Dell (DELL) saw its PC sales shrink by 20.8% year-over-year while Acer’s (2353) sales declined by more than 28%.

Prior to joining BGR as News Editor, Brad Reed spent five years covering the wireless industry for Network World. His first smartphone was a BlackBerry but he has since become a loyal Android user.