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PC sales get hammered as consumers turn toward tablets during the holiday quarter

Published Jan 14th, 2013 10:50AM EST
PC Sales Decline

Another week, another gloomy assessment of the PC market. Gartner on Monday released new research showing that “worldwide PC shipments totaled 90.3 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012, a 4.9 percent decline from the fourth quarter of 2011.” The reason that PC sales have fallen, says Gartner, is that consumers are using tablets as their primary content consumption devices and are only using PCs for productivity. In other words, consumers feel much less impetus to replace their PCs if they have tablets they can use for basic functions such as reading the news and watching videos.

“We increasingly suspect that most individuals will shift consumption activity to a personal tablet, and perform creative and administrative tasks on a shared PC,” said Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa. “There will be some individuals who retain both, but we believe they will be exception and not the norm. Therefore, we hypothesize that buyers will not replace secondary PCs in the household, instead allowing them to age out and shifting consumption to a tablet.”

Gartner also found that “the launch of Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows 8 did not have a significant impact on PC shipments in the fourth quarter,” although the firm expects that Windows 8 PC sales will improve as OEMs release top-tier touch screen computers throughout 2013.

As far as individual vendors go, Gartner found that HP (HPQ) retained its top spot in the PC market with a 15.5% share despite seeing its overall sales drop by 0.5% year-over-year. Lenovo came in second with a 13.6% 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 20.9% year-over-year while Acer’s (2353) sales declined by more than 11%.

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.