For the first time in five years, PC sales declined during the fourth quarter. A new report from IDC suggests that consumers are opting to spend money on smartphones and tablets instead of desktops and laptops, and the release of Windows 8 has done little to reverse that trend.
Bill Rigby from Reuters reported, "Holiday-season sales of personal computers fell for the first time in more than five years, according to tech industry tracker IDC, as Microsoft Corp's new Windows 8 operating system failed to excite buyers and many instead opted for tablet devices and smartphones. The slump caps a miserable year for PC makers such as Hewlett-Packard Co, Lenovo Group and Dell Inc , which saw the first annual decline for more than a decade with no immediate signs of relief."
In its press release, IDC explained, "Worldwide PC shipments totaled 89.8 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012 (4Q12), down 6.4% compared to the same quarter in 2011 and worse than the forecasted decline of 4.4%, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. Although the quarter marked the beginning of a new stage in the PC industry with the launch of Windows 8, its impact did not quickly change recently sluggish PC demand, and the PC market continued to take a back seat to competing devices and sustained economic woes."
ZDNet's Rachel King noted, "Hewlett-Packard is still the top PC vendor worldwide as it tries to recover in key markets, according to the International Data Corporation."
InformationWeek's Paul McDougall added, "Some PC vendors fared better than others. Lenovo, which focuses mainly on the enterprise market, defied the downturn and saw its fourth quarter PC shipments increase 8.2% year-over-year, to 14.1 million units. ASUS saw shipments increase 5.6%, to 6.5 million units, while market leader HP held steady at about 15 million units. Others in the top five fared considerably worse. Dell saw its Q4 PC shipments plunge 20.8%, to 9.5 million units, while Acer saw shipments plummet 28.2%, to 7 million units. Dell suffered from 'aggressive competition,' while Acer was hit by its 'dependence on consumer spending,' which largely went to non-Windows tablets, IDC said."