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Worldwide PC shipments totaled 76.3 million units in the first quarter of 2013 (Q1 2013), down -13.9% compared to the same quarter in 2012 and worse than the forecast decline of -7.7%, according to the International Data Corp. The extent of the year-on-year contraction marked the worst quarter since IDC began tracking the PC market quarterly in 1994. The results also marked the fourth consecutive quarter of year-on-year shipment declines.

Despite some mild improvement in the economic environment and some new PC models offering Windows 8, PC shipments were down significantly across all regions compared to a year ago. Fading netbook shipments have taken a big chunk out of the low-end market while tablets and smartphones continue to divert consumer spending. PC industry efforts to offer touch capabilities and ultraslim systems have been hampered by traditional barriers of price and component supply, as well as a weak reception for Windows 8. The PC industry is struggling to identify innovations that differentiate PCs from other products and inspire consumers to buy, and instead is meeting significant resistance to changes perceived as cumbersome or costly.

"At this point, unfortunately, it seems clear that the Windows 8 launch not only failed to provide a positive boost to the PC market, but appears to have slowed the market. While some consumers appreciate the new form factors and touch capabilities of Windows 8, the radical changes to the UI, removal of the familiar Start button, and the costs associated with touch have made PCs a less attractive alternative to dedicated tablets and other competitive devices. Microsoft will have to make some very tough decisions moving forward if it wants to help reinvigorate the PC market," said Bob O'Donnell, IDC program vice president of clients and displays.

The impact of slow demand has been magnified by the restructuring and reorganizing efforts impacting HP and Dell. Lenovo remains a notable exception as it continues to execute on a solid "attack" strategy. Mid- and bottom-tier vendors are also struggling to identify growth markets within the U.S. Among the most vulnerable group of vendors are the whitebox system builders, which are undergoing consolidation that is affecting shipments as well as the distribution sector.

"Although the reduction in shipments was not a surprise, the magnitude of the contraction is both surprising and worrisome. The industry is going through a critical crossroads, and strategic choices will have to be made as to how to compete with the proliferation of alternative devices and remain relevant to the consumer," said David Daoud, IDC research director of personal computing.

Regional Highlights

United States – The U.S. market had another dismal quarter in Q1 2013, contracting -12.7% year on year, with a drop of -18.3% compared to the fourth quarter of 2012. With total volume falling to 14.2 million, quarterly shipments reached their lowest level since the first quarter of 2006. With this latest figure, the U.S. is now in its tenth consecutive quarter of year-on-year contraction (excluding a brief moment of growth – less than 2% year on year – in Q3 2011).

EMEA – As expected, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) remained constrained, posting a stronger double-digit decline than anticipated in the first quarter of 2013. Results fell short of expectations in the consumer segment as softness in demand persisted amid a continued shift to tablets and ongoing budget pressures. Meanwhile, the market response to Windows 8 and touch-enabled devices remained slow, leading to cautious sell-in from most vendors. Shipments in the commercial market remained constrained as predicted, following continued economic pressure and lack of major IT renewals.

Japan – PC shipments were in line with expectations in the first quarter. Some economic improvement is helping to support commercial replacement demand ahead of the scheduled end of support for Windows XP next year. However, consumer shipments remained very weak.

Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) (APeJ) – PC shipments in APeJ declined sharply, dropping a record -12.7% year on year, the first time the region has experienced a double-digit decline. Although much of the earlier Windows 7 stock had cleared, a lukewarm reception toward Windows 8 hampered new shipments. China's inactivity contributed heavily to the decline, as public sector spending continued to be constrained.

Vendor Highlights

HP remained the top vendor, but posted a substantial double-digit decline in shipments after an aggressive fourth quarter kept growth flat during the holidays. HP's worldwide shipments fell more than -23% year on year in Q1 2013, with significant declines across all regions, as internal restructuring continued to affect commercial sales. Although HP maintained its leadership position in the United States, the company saw U.S. shipments fall -22.9% from a year ago.

Lenovo remained second in global shipments and nearly closed the gap with HP. Lenovo continued to outpace the market, notably expanding shipments with its attack strategy. In the United States, Lenovo outperformed the market with double digit year-on-year growth compared to the market's double-digit contraction. Shipments in Asia/Pacific declined, however, keeping Lenovo's overall growth flat.

Dell saw shipments decline by more than -10% globally and -14% in the United States. The vendor continued to face tough competition and struggled with customer uncertainty about the direction of its restructuring. Nevertheless, the decline in shipments was smaller than the past few quarters, and its sales to Asia/Pacific returned to positive growth.

Acer Group continued to see substantial declines in shipments across regions. As the leader in Mini Notebook shipments, the vendor has been particularly exposed to the decline in these systems. Slow consumer and SMB growth has also taken a toll. In a sequential comparison, Acer's market share rose slightly to 8.1% in 1Q12 from 8.0% in 4Q12, halting its market share decline.

Asustek Computer managed some growth in the United States, but saw a substantial decline in EMEA and Asia/Pacific. The company's substantial surge in Americas shipments in the second half of 2012 gave way to limited growth as demand weakened.

Apple fared better than the overall U.S. market, but still saw shipments decline as its own PCs also face competition from iPads.

Toshiba also saw shipments decline in the United States, but fared better than the overall market, benefitting somewhat from the restructuring of market leaders HP and Dell.

Tags: HP, Dell, Lenovo, ASUS, Acer, Apple, Toshiba, Business, IDC

Discussion

Comments currently: 11
Discussion started: 04/11/13 05:23:58 PM
Latest comment: 04/16/13 03:06:51 AM
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1. 
If the hardware manufactures can't see that it is the O/S which is killing their sales, by sticking to a failing O/S instead of looking for an alternative their sales will only decline farther. Even if they reverted to Win7 or used a 3rd party desktop manager this could reduce the decline in sales. Till an O/S comes along which needs newer hardware not a legacy O/S which is tailored to the minimum specs., I presume that the need for replacement of the hardware will continue to decline. Hardware which is using other operating systems is not in decline. Strange?
2 2 [Posted by: tedstoy  | Date: 04/11/13 05:23:58 PM]
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Totally agree. Windows 8 suxs.
3 0 [Posted by: lgm  | Date: 04/12/13 04:33:26 AM]
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2. 
Maybe MS will get enough bitchslapping to give us again an OS for well... you know desktop computers...

2 0 [Posted by: nitro912gr  | Date: 04/12/13 12:01:58 PM]
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3. 
The next great innovation to differentiate notebooks will come with Microsoft's Kinect. I don't know when or what version of the platform (hardware + OS) will be capable enough for this to become a reality, but it will eventually offer touch free interaction with the Windows user interface (because no one enjoys a smeery screen).

It's a technology as far as I'm aware MS has a huge lead in and will help drive their products / platforms forward.

0 0 [Posted by: JBG  | Date: 04/12/13 11:54:08 PM]
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4. 
But MS really do know better what the consumer wants, even more than the consumer knows themselves

That's why we have MS telling us how we should be using a computer, instead of how we want to use a computer

Remember, its in our own interests to do what we are told because MS really do know better what the consumer want........even if they don't want it

But of course MS will say that W8 has FA to do with weak sales.......its someone else's fault
2 0 [Posted by: alpha0ne  | Date: 04/13/13 02:23:32 AM]
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5. 
Win 8 is a joke. I agree. But Win8 is not killing PC market. Many bought Win8 from the offers from Microsoft with $15 or $30 and simply used them with the PCs they already had. Maybe upgraded RAM, or bought an SSD, a better card than the onboard from Intel, or a second hard disk for the new OS. Upgrades of one or two components don't count.
That offer from Microsoft maybe played the major role for the decline. People had the OS before a new PC, so they kept the old one. And don't tell me that a dual or quad core even from 2009 is not enough today for Win8 with, maybe just one or two upgrades.
1 0 [Posted by: john_gre  | Date: 04/13/13 11:29:07 AM]
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Win8 has slightly lower demands than Win7. That´s the ONLY thing MS actually managed to get right with it. So, basically anything not VERY old CAN run Win8. Probably anything dual core or better will be enough.

It´s just so sad, that when just for once, MS manages to improve OS performance, they do it with such a complete piece of rubbish as the Win8 UI.
1 0 [Posted by: DIREWOLF75  | Date: 04/13/13 04:29:22 PM]
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most of us who did this uninstalled win 8 soon after installition and went back to 7
0 0 [Posted by: tedstoy  | Date: 04/15/13 07:12:38 PM]
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6. 
Win 8 is a major fail, but its also the terrible economy, and many people migrating to tablets and smartphones to do what PCs used to do. If all one is doing is emails, social networking, and surfing, why even lug around a laptop?
1 0 [Posted by: beck2448  | Date: 04/13/13 04:45:17 PM]
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7. 
Part of Dell's problem may just be, their slack jawed online sales people, who seem more intrested in getting an excessive amount of personal information instead of answering my questions about their Ubuntu OS gaming PC! I have also not read, in any technical website's review analysis of the PC sales decline, any mention of PC makers crappy service after the sale, or laptop OEM's habit of taking the Intel Generic HD graphics drivers, and customizing them to work, at a ruduced functionality on OEM laptops, and then never updating their OEM customized Intel HD graphics drivers, which beacuse they are OEM customized, CAN NOT be updated from Intel, Intel can only update the Intel generic HD graphics drivers! Many PC/laptop OEMs RARELY properly document their hardware and system software any more, PC/laptop OEMs should be required to provide the complete hardware and software data sheets on each model(SKU) that they sale, when I purcahsed my first laptop, the sales assoicate had a complete data sheet for each model that they sold! If I try now to ask for any data sheet on any laptop, all I get is a blank stare. And good luck getting a laptop with Intel generic HD graphics drivers, beacuse you need administrative privileges to download the components from the Intel HD graphics driver website, install the software, an the have it tell you if the computer has Intel Generic or OEM customized drivers! Getting a sales person to let you do this, well, good luck with that! OEMs crappy documentation, Crappy service after the sale, and a totally crappy windows 8, added together, equals the end of the hay days for the PC!
1 0 [Posted by: BigChiefRunAmok  | Date: 04/14/13 08:53:22 AM]
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8. 
Because people got smarter and prefer building their own systems? Because people are NOT paying 30%-60% more for a desktop from a Brand only? Because a 4-5 years old PC is more than enough for nowadays tasks, and if an upgrade is required, except GPU and maybe CPU, nothing else is needed?
0 0 [Posted by: TAViX  | Date: 04/16/13 03:06:51 AM]
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