The increasing preference for tablets led to a fall in the sales of personal computers (PCs) worldwide in the quarter ended December. According to research and advisory firm Gartner, 90.3 million PCs were shipped in the quarter, a 4.9 per cent decline compared to the corresponding quarter of 2011.
Gartner’s principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa said the PC industry’s problems pointed to factors other than a weak economy. “Tablets have dramatically changed the device landscape for PCs, not so much by cannibalising’ PC sales, but by causing PC users to shift consumption to tablets, rather than replace older PCs,” he said. Gartner says last year, this trend was triggered by the availability of compelling low-cost tablets. And, it would continue until the installed base of PCs declined to accommodate tablets as primary consumption devices, it added.
Though HP regained its top position in PC shipments in the quarter ended December, the company’s sales didn’t record growth compared to the year-ago period. Analysts said it was likely HP gave up a certain margin level to gain market share.
During the quarter, Lenovo dropped to the second position. However, it recorded the best growth (8.2 per cent) among the top five PC vendors worldwide. Dell’s performance was weak; the company lost market share of about two per cent during the quarter. Acer fell from the second to the third slot in PC shipments.
The launch of Microsoft’s Windows 8 didn’t have a significant impact on PC shipments. However, new products are coming to market and this could drive churn within the installed base.