PC sales in first quarter see worst drop ever


Worldwide sales of personal computers slid 13.9 percent in the first quarter of 2013, research firm IDC said Wednesday, the worst contraction since it began tracking the market in 1994.

IDC said global PC shipments totaled 76.3 million units in the first quarter, the fourth consecutive quarter of year-on-year declines. The group said sales were down “significantly across all regions” of the world.

The research firm said tablets and smartphones “continue to divert consumer spending” and efforts by PC makers to come up with touchscreens and capabilities, and ultraslim systems have fallen flat. While surveys have shown consumers shifting away from PCs to tablets and other devices, the survey highlighted a grimmer-than-expected market.

The survey found a result far worse than IDC’s projected 7.7 percent year-on-year drop despite what the firm called “some mild improvement in the economic environment and some new PC models” with the Windows 8 operating system.

“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,” said IDC analyst Bob O’Donnell. “While some consumers appreciate the new form factors and touch capabilities of Windows 8, the radical changes to the UI (user interface), 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.”

IDC said Hewlett-Packard remained the top vendor despite a 23 percent year-on-year drop in first-quarter shipments.

China’s Lenovo remained second in global shipments and nearly closed the gap with HP, based on IDC estimates.

According to IDC, HP sold 11.997 million PCs for a 15.7 percent market share to 11.7 million for Lenovo, for a 15.3 percent share. Dell was third at 11.8 percent followed by Taiwan firms Acer (8.1 percent) and Asus (5.7 percent).