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October 10, 2013

Global PC sales continue to drop in Q3

PC suffering as popularity of tablets grows.

By CBR Staff Writer

Global personal computers (PC) shipments have dropped 8.6% year-on-year during the third quarter of 2013.

The Gartner figures mean PC sales have plunged to their lowest level since 2008, at 80.3m units.

Principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa said that the third quarter is often referred to as the ‘back-to-school’ quarter for PC sales, and is normally a strong period.

"Consumers’ shift from PCs to tablets for daily content consumption continued to decrease the installed base of PCs both in mature as well as in emerging markets," Kitagawa said.

"A greater availability of inexpensive Android tablets attracted first-time consumers in emerging markets, and as supplementary devices in mature markets."

During the quarter, Lenovo topped the list of global PC makers by accounting for 17.6% of shipments with 14.15m units shipped, followed by HP captured 17.1% of market with 13.73m, Dell (9.3m), Acer Group (6.6m) and Asus (4.9m).

Regionally, PC shipments in the US reached 16.1m units, up 3.5%, marking the second consecutive quarter of shipment growth following a six quarters of decline.

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"The positive U.S. results could mean that seasonal strength and channel fill for new product launches in 3Q13 finally overcame the structural decline." Kitagawa said.

"Even though 3Q13 shipments were compared with artificially weak 2Q13 because of inventory control for the Windows 8 launch at the time, the 3Q13 results imply the U.S. market may have passed the worst declining stage, which started in 2010.

"The shrinking installed base of PCs has also passed the steepest decline phase because the structural change has progressed fairly quickly.

"Tablets will continue to impact the PC market, but the U.S. PC market will see a more moderate decrease rather than a steep decline in the next two years."

On the other hand, EMEA PC market dropped by 13.7% during Q3, registering the sixth consecutive quarter of decreasing PC shipments, with a quarter on quarter fall of 8.2%.

Gartner principal research analyst Isabelle Durand said that during the third quarter many vendors went through product transitions to Intel’s new Haswell and Bay Trail processors, while preparing for the October launch of Windows 8.1.

"These product transitions and the clearing of old inventory that is taking place through the third and fourth quarters of 2013, have played a part in the slowdown of the PC market in EMEA," Durand said.

"Many PC vendors also introduced Android tablets as a main part of their portfolios and this initiative drove PC sales downward."
During the quarter, Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the Middle East and Africa witnessed a drop in PC shipments.

Gartner research director Ranjit Atwal said that in Eastern Europe the decline was due to the continued popularity of tablets as well as some weakening of the Ruble against the Euro and the US Dollar, which led to price increases.

"Moreover, growing economic concerns in Russia over a slowdown in GDP led to weaker consumer confidence and more cautious spending on devices in this third quarter," Atwal said.

"The demand for PCs in the Middle East and Africa also continued to slow as tablet adoption increased — particularly in the Middle East."

However, HP retained the top PC maker crown in the EMEA PC market, followed by Lenovo which had a fifth consecutive quarter of growth.

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