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PC shipments dropped 8.6 percent during the third quarter of 2013, said Gartner, citing preliminary market data. "This marks the sixth consecutive quarter of declining worldwide shipments," noted the research firm in a statement.
In total, PC vendors shipped 80.3 million units during the quarter, setting the PC market back five years as consumers flock to tablets.
"The third quarter is often referred to as the 'back-to-school' quarter for PC sales, and sales this quarter dropped to their lowest volume since 2008," said Gartner principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa in company remarks. "Consumers' shift from PCs to tablets for daily content consumption continued to decrease the installed base of PCs both in mature as well as in emerging markets," she added.
Google's mobile OS is playing a substantial role in the PC's diminishing popularity. "A greater availability of inexpensive Android tablets attracted first-time consumers in emerging markets, and as supplementary devices in mature markets," stated Kitagawa.
There is a silver lining in Gartner's data, at least in the U.S. market. PC shipments in the region hit 16.1 million units during the third quarter, a year-over-year increase of 3.5 percent. The firm noted that this marks "the second consecutive quarter of shipment growth after six quarters of decline."
"Even though 3Q13 shipments were compared with artificially weak 2Q13 because of inventory control for the Windows 8 launch at the time, the 3Q13 results imply the U.S. market may have passed the worst declining stage, which started in 2010," said Kitagawa. Adding that tablets will continue to put pressure on PC vendors, she said that "the U.S. PC market will see a more moderate decrease rather than a steep decline in the next two years."
Lenovo took the top spot in global PC shipments. The Chinese computer maker shipped 14.1 million units, earning it 17.6 percent share of the market. HP came in a close second with 13.7 million PCs shipped and 17.1 percent of the market. Rounding out the top five are Dell, Acer and Asus, with 11.6 percent, 8.3 percent and 6.1 percent of the PC market, respectively.
In the U.S., Lenovo drops to fourth place with 1.6 million PCs shipped and 10.5 percent of the market. HP (4.3 million, 26.9 percent), Dell (3.3 million, 21 percent) and Apple (2.1 million, 13.4 percent) led the PC market during the third quarter. Toshiba brought up the rear in fifth place with 1.1 million units and a 7 percent share of the market.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.