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Six in a row as global PC sales slow

14 Oct 13

Unsurprisingly worldwide PC shipments once again hit the skids during Q3 2013, posting a sixth consecutive quarter of decline as consumers continue switching to mobile devices devices.

That's according to latest findings from research firm Gartner, who claim global PC shipments amassed to 80.3 million units, representing an 8.6 percent decline from the same period last year.

"The third quarter is often referred to as the 'back-to-school' quarter for PC sales, and sales this quarter dropped to their lowest volume since 2008," says Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst, Gartner.

"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.

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

HP and Lenovo have been virtually neck and neck for the top global position in the PC market, with Lenovo taking the lead, as it did last quarter. But Gartner was quick to warn that the upcoming holiday sales season will be a key battlefield for both companies.

Lenovo accounted for 17.6 percent of global PC shipments in the third quarter, and HP had 17.1 percent of shipments, according to preliminary results below.

Preliminary worldwide PC vendor unit shipment estimates for Q3:

• Lenovo - 14,154,355

• HP - 13,732,398

• Dell - 9,306,202

• Acer Group - 6,666,789

• Asus - 4,923,397

• Others - 31, 496.126

Dell's PC shipments on the other hand exceeded growth rate averages across all regions, while Acer's shipments declined 22.6 percent compared with a year ago, as a reduction in netbook shipments impacted overall PC shipment results.

Asus however saw PC shipments decline 22.5 percent, with the company clearly shifting its focus from PCs to tablets. Asus' tablet shipments were nearly equal to its mobile PC shipments in Q3 2013.

IDC

While estimating the total shipments to be 81.6 million units during the quarter, fellow research form IDC predicts the market contracted 7.6%, slightly less than that of Gartner.

While shipments remained weak during the early part of the quarter however, the analyst firm claims the market was somewhat buoyed by business purchases, as well as channel intake of Windows 8.1-based systems during September.

A slight uptick in business volume contributed to shipments.

Despite some encouraging developments in the business space, emerging markets continued to exhibit troubling signs, with Asia/Pacific in particular still facing stock of Ivy Bridge-based systems and continued encroachment from lower-priced tablets and smartphones.

"The third quarter was pretty close to forecast, which unfortunately doesn’t reflect much improvement in the PC market, or potential for near-term growth," says Loren Loverde, Vice President Worldwide PC Trackers, IDC.

"Whether constrained by a weak economy or being selective in their tech investments, buyers continue to evaluate options and delay PC replacements.

"Despite being a little ahead of forecast, and the work that's being done on new designs and integration of features like touch, the third quarter results suggest that there's still a high probability that we will see another decline in worldwide shipments in 2014."

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