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Tablets drag down PC shipments during holiday season

Total PC sales slumped 6.4%.

By CBR Staff Writer

Global personal-computer (PC) shipments declined 6.4% during the fourth quarter of 2012, marking the first holiday-period drop since 2001, as consumers and retailers shifted towards tablets and smartphones, according to a new report from IDC.

IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker revealed that global PC shipments dropped 3.2% for the full year 2012, dragged down by lacklustre holiday season demand, notwithstanding the debut of a new operating system in the shape of Windows 8 from Microsoft.

IDC Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker senior research analyst Jay Chou said that although in the third quarter the focus was on the clearing of Windows 7 inventory, preliminary research indicates the clearance did not considerably encourage the uptake of Windows 8 systems in Q4.

"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," Chou said.

"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."

During the season, HP topped the vendors list by capturing 17% of global shipments, followed by Lenovo with 16% and Dell with 11%.

HP and Dell were followed by Apple with 11% of the PC market in the US during the same period.

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IDC US Quarterly PC Tracker research director David Daoudr said the US market had a rough ending as expected, dropping 4.5% in the fourth quarter and contributing to a decline of 7% for the full year 2012.

"Consumers expected all sorts of cool PCs with tablet and touch capabilities. Instead, they mostly saw traditional PCs that feature a new OS (Windows 8) optimised for touch and tablet with applications and hardware that are not yet able to fully utilise these capabilities," Daoudr said.

"Despite a generally weak performance, some leading brands managed to do well relative to the market.

"HP, Lenovo, Asus, and Samsung were among the top performers, taking advantage of some consumer interest in Windows 8, and a push to build up their presence ahead of 2013."

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