The PC market is continuing to flatline as tablet and smartphone sales climb.
PC shipment worldwide totaled 89.8m units in the fourth quarter of 2012, down 6.4% compared to the same time last year and worse than the 4.4% forecasted by research firm IDC.
Microsoft’s attempt to arrest the decline in sales of its Windows offerings have not been tempered by the release of Windows 8 – which is a tablet centric operating system. The Microsoft Surface, the company’s first attempt to enter the hardware space in more than 20 years – has not been received well (see What Mobile’s review here) and as a result has not sold as well as expected – despite a huge marketing push.
This is the first time in five years that PC sales have seen a year on year decline during the holiday season.
“Although the third quarter was focused on the clearing of Windows 7 inventory, preliminary research indicates the clearance did not significantly boost the uptake of Windows 8 systems in Q4,” said Jay Chou, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker.
“Lost in the shuffle to promote a touch-centric PC, vendors have not forcefully stressed other features that promote a more secure, reliable and efficient user experience. As Windows 8 matures, and other corresponding variables such as Ultrabook pricing continue to drop, hopefully the PC market can see a reset in both messaging and demand in 2013.”
Europe, the Middle East and Asia performed in line with expectations – that is, badly – with shipments declining at single-digit rates when compared to a year ago.
IDC believes that the sell-in of Windows 8 systems was accelerating by early December, but as a whole “consumers continued to shun PC purchases in favor of attractively priced tablets and smartphones, particularly during the end-of-year Christmas season.”
Only Lenovo and ASUS managed to increase PC market share.