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Different quarter, same story: PC market drops by 10.9 percent in Q2

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July 10, 2013

Global PC shipments dropped to 76 million units in the second quarter, which marks the fif...

Global PC shipments dropped to 76 million units in the second quarter, which marks the fifth straight quarter of decline (original: Shutterstock)

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Here's one trend that's showing no signs of slowing down. The global PC market, which had already been in decline for four straight quarters, has now dropped for a fifth consecutive quarter. Will the bleeding stop? Or are we permanently shifting to an iPad-centric world of computing?

The data comes from Gartner, Inc., which tallied the second quarter's total shipments at 76 million units. That's down 10.9 percent from the 85.3 million PCs shipped in Q2 of last year. This fifth straight quarter of declining shipments sets a new record of futility for the PC industry.

Lenovo took the top prize for the quarter with 16.7 percent of total shipments (on 12.7 million shipments). It barely edged out HP, which had 16.3 percent share on 12.4 million units. Acer landed in third place with 8.5 percent on 6.3 million shipments, and Asus rounded out the top for with 6 percent (moving 4.5 million shipments).

The data includes both the obvious (traditional desktops, laptops, Ultrabooks), and the not-so-obvious (Windows 8 tablets and hybrids, like the Surface Pro and Lenovo Yoga). It didn't, however, include mobile processor-powered "media tablets" like the iPad, Nexus 7, or Kindle Fire.

Shipments were down consistently across the globe, so this isn't a case of one region weighing global totals down.

The usual suspects

Consumer tablets like the iPad and Kindle Fire are eating into the PC market

Unsurprisingly, Gartner points its finger at consumer tablets as the primary culprits. Windows 8 obviously hasn't stopped the hemorrhaging, as some had hoped, but Gartner's principle analyst Mikako Kitagawa doesn't believe it should necessarily be blamed for the downward spiral either:

    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 [which was down 4.3 percent in the US from Q2 2012].

Computing habits have shifted, and smartphones and tablets have increasingly become the primary computers in many households. Or, at the very least, they're keeping those dusty old desktops from being upgraded as often as they once were.

The next few years should be interesting to watch, as Microsoft and its gang of OEMs continue their push towards portable touch-based PCs. Will longer battery life and the inevitable price drops be enough to turn consumers on to those next-gen PCs? Stay tuned: the Microsofts, Intels, HPs, and Lenovos of the world have a lot riding on that question.

Source: Gartner

About the Author
Will Shanklin Will Shanklin is Gizmag's Mobile Tech Editor, and has been part of the team since 2012. Will has a Master's degree from U.C. Irvine and a Bachelor's from West Virginia University. He currently lives in New Mexico with his wife, Jessica.
  All articles by Will Shanklin
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7 Comments

It's amazing to watch the contortions! Netbooks doing the twist, phones trying to be tablets and visa-versa...all because of the touch screen.

The touch screen was a record-breaking innovation for the phone. The keyboard and mouse/trackpad are designed for fingers. The touch screen is only useful on screens not much bigger than a track pad.

PC's should now be small and dirt cheap, play the latest games, and run on WinXP or Ubuntu with keyboard and mouse. Retro-money is there to be had.

Threesixty
11th July, 2013 @ 02:23 am PDT

What the tablet market exposed is how people use computers. Only a handful are engaged in software development, photo/video editing or data mining which require processing power and local applications. The other 99% are generally content consumers or produce text/image content initiated from a smart phone or tablet. Such a shift has parallels in other industries.

Sheryl Hamlin
11th July, 2013 @ 09:59 am PDT

The impact of Windows 8 which makes Vista look like a resounding success is not mentioned here. I have seen countless online comments saying people would seriously consider buying X if only it could be purchased with Windows 7. I am in that situation myself. There is a Samsung Series 7 laptop that has every hardware spec I want looking forward but it can only be purchased with Windows 8 which stops me cold from buying it and is the only thing stopping me. Sure I could replace it with Windows 7 but at the cost of any support at all and the strong possibility of not being able to migrate my entire, long evolved current application environment to it. No thanks.

Microsoft, specifically Sinofsky, may well have killed the goose. To try to force feed something into a newly vulnerable market that virtually nobody wants or will tolerate (they had to have known this prior to launch) shows a suicidal tendency somewhere at or near the top. Unless in some way that defies my understanding killing the PC fits their long term prospects better than supporting it.

DonGateley
11th July, 2013 @ 12:11 pm PDT

True and right on, with the trend. Or more accurately the trendy.

But somewhere missing in this wave of promotion, whether self aware or not, is that the number of the tablets are still far behind that of the conventional PCs...

For the real scientists, check the number yourselves;)

I have no issues with the tablets and have no troubles in seeing more of them around. In fact, some innovative producers have already been producing hybrids, let the trendy and wealthy have best of both worlds.

And tablets are after all just a variation of the PCs, rather than a revolution, if you ask me.

William Wong
11th July, 2013 @ 02:40 pm PDT

PC shipments would slip with or without windows 8 being bad. I think it was Jobs that said the PC is like a truck, we still need them for heavy lifting but most people can get by without one.

The more tasks people can do on their phones/tablets/watches/glasses etc. the less frequently they need to use their computers. Aside from storing and processing pictures and videos people take with phones I think most people could probably throw their computers away and not miss them.

A lot of people might be better off with a half decent NAS than a PC for storing these things anyway.

Personally though I have 3 recent PC purchases ((2 towers and a laptop) but I think just one of them would count for this statistic because the towers were builds. Our household is pretty far from normal though.

Daishi
11th July, 2013 @ 03:34 pm PDT

PC was a term coined, probably by IBM, about the time their "micro-computer" was released. You don't hear that term much anymore but that's what they were called in the mid to late 70's.

Personal Computer: A computer used by one person as opposed to the mini and main frames of the day, used and served by guys in white coats with pocket protectors (slide rule optional)

Desk top and lap top sales may be slowing but the PC market is growing. Soon somebody will get smart enough to market a station with monitor, key board and mouse that you will plug your PC (now called a smart phone) into when you get home.

Leap motion and Google glasses can take care of the serious work when you are away from home.

MikeFromHC
12th July, 2013 @ 09:31 am PDT

It's just a summer. Most of us are interested in a swift and easy surfing on the waves and the Internet. It's time for tablets and smartphones. But in any case it will be the end of the summer holiday season and in any case will be the beginning of the school year and again laptops will be in demand.

Rafael Kireyev
12th July, 2013 @ 10:00 am PDT
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