Tue, Jan 15, 2013 - Page 14 News List

PC sales on the decline as tablets dominate the market

By Kevin Chen  /  Staff reporter

Global PC shipments declined 4.9 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter last year as Microsoft Corp’s new operating system failed to boost consumer purchases, while Hewlett Packard Co regained the world’s top PC brand status from Lenovo Group Ltd (聯想), market researcher Gartner Inc said yesterday.

Worldwide, 90.37 million PC units were shipped in the October-to-December quarter last year, down from 95.02 million recorded a year earlier, according to preliminary results released by Gartner.

In a press release, the researcher said the launch of Microsoft’s Windows 8 did not have a significant impact on PC shipments in the fourth quarter.

“Some PC vendors offered lackluster form factors in their Windows 8 offerings and missed the excitement and potential of touch,” Gartner said.

This suggests that the PC industry’s problems are being caused by more than the weak economy, which had pushed down shipments at all top PC vendors in the quarter except China’s Lenovo and Taiwan’s Asustek Computer Inc (華碩).

“Tablets have dramatically changed the device landscape for PCs, not so much by ‘cannibalizing’ PC sales, but by causing PC users to shift their consumption to tablets instead of replacing old PCs,” Mikako Kitagwa, principal analyst at Gartner, said in the statement.

This was shown to be particularly true as consumers no longer viewed PCs as the No. 1 gift item during the holiday season, she said.

“This transformation was triggered by the availability of compelling low-cost tablets in 2012, and will continue until PC sales decline to accommodate tablets as the primary consumption device,” Kitagawa said.

Among the top five brands, HP shipped 14.65 million PCs in the fourth quarter, down 0.5 percent from a year earlier, with 16.2 percent market share. However, Gartner said the US company regained the top position by sacrificing a certain margin level.

Despite falling back to the No. 2 position, Lenovo reported the strongest growth of 8.2 percent in global shipments among the top five vendors to 13.98 million units, with a market share of 15.5 percent.

It was followed by Dell Inc, which saw shipments fall 20.9 percent to 9.21 million units and secured a 10.2 percent market share.

Acer Inc (宏碁) maintained its fourth-place ranking with a market share of 9.5 percent, but saw quarterly shipments plunge 11 percent year-on-year to 8.62 million units, Gartner said.

Meanwhile, Asustek’s shipments increased by 6.4 percent year-on-year to 6.53 million units last quarter, making it the world’s fifth-biggest PC vendor, with a 7.2 percent market share, Gartner said.

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