PC market takes record plunge, Window 8 failed to improve situation as smartphones and tablets take over

The PC market has been witnessing a downfall across the globe owing to a sharp rise in the popularity of smartphones and tablets as well as the slow adoption of Windows 8, according to reports by both IDC and Gartner. This year so far has been no different, and shipments of PCs for Q1 2013 have seen a decline at a worrisome rate. According to the Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker released by IDC, worldwide PC shipment for Q1 w013 totaled at 76.3 million units, which is 13.9 percent lower than the same quarter in 2012. Gartner’s Worldwide PC shipments report suggests 79.2 million units were shipped during the period or a decline of 11.2 percent year-on-year.

The PC market has already been forecasted to shrink year-on-year, but according to David Daoud, IDC research director, personal computing, “The magnitude of the contraction is both surprising and worrisome.”

“Consumers are migrating content consumption from PCs to other connected devices, such as tablets and smartphones. Even emerging markets, where PC penetration is low, are not expected to be a strong growth area for PC vendors,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner

According to IDC, the Asian Pacific market (excluding Japan) has recorded a double-digit decline for the first time at -12.7 percent year-on-year. Other markets like the United States, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Japan have also recorded relatively higher drop than expected.

Top 5 Vendors, Worldwide PC Shipments, First Quarter 2013 (Preliminary) (Units Shipments are in thousands)

Vendor 1Q13 Shipments 1Q13 Market Share 1Q12 Shipments 1Q12 Market Share 1Q13/1Q12 Growth
1. HP 11,997 15.7% 15,726 17.7% -23.7%
2. Lenovo 11,700 15.3% 11,705 13.2% 0.0%
3. Dell 9,010 11.8% 10,110 11.4% -10.9%
4. Acer Group 6,150 8.1% 8,952 10.1% -31.3%
5. ASUS 4,363 5.7% 5,401 6.1% -19.2%
Others 33,075 43.4% 36,739 41.5% -10.0%
Total 76,294 100.0% 88,635 100.0% -13.9%


The IDC report highlights that while tablets and smartphones have been eating away a big chunk of the PC market year-on-year, Windows 8 too has not been able to lure consumers to invest in PCs which has contributed to this plunge in the market. “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,” commented Bob O’Donnell, IDC – program vice president, clients and displays.

It is not only the Window’s interface but also hardware support like touchscreen required for the operating system, that have reportedly failed to impress consumers. “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,” he added.

As far as the brand positioning in the market go, HP and Lenovo have been neck-and-neck for the market lead. However, HP took the top slot with 14.8 percent and 15.7 percent of market share as recorded by Gartner and IDC respectively. Lenovo came in second with a difference of 0.3 percent only, while Dell bagged the third position.

Table 1
Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 1Q13 (Units)

Company 1Q13 Shipments 1Q13 Market Share (%) 1Q12 Shipments 1Q12 Market Share (%) 1Q12-1Q13 Growth (%)
HP 11,687,778 14.8 15,301,906 17.2 -23.6
Lenovo 11,666,400 14.7 11,652,664 13.1 0.1
Dell 8,734,892 11.0 9,838,121 11.0 -11.2
Acer Group 6,843,184 8.6 9,582,046 10.9 -29.3
Asus 5,360,470 6.8 5,552,329 6.2 -3.5
Others 34,914,286 44.1 37,170,712 41.7 -6.1
Total 79,207,010 100.0 89,197,778 100.0 -11.2

Note: Data includes desk-based PCs and mobile PCs, including mini-notebooks but not media tablets such as the iPad.

Source: Gartner (April 2013)