Global PC shipments declining rapidly, report claims

Research firm IDC records steepest quarterly drop since tracking began

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International Data Corporation (IDC) reports that worldwide shipments of PC hardware have suffered the steepest quarterly decline since the research and consultancy firm began tracking the market in 1994.

IDC claims global PC shipments totalled 76.3 million units in the first quarter of 2013, down 13.9 per cent compared to the same quarter in 2012. The figure far exceeded IDC’s prior estimate of a 7.7 per cent fall, and the results marked the fourth consecutive quarter of year-on-year shipment declines.

IDC PC research director David Daoud labelled “the magnitude of the contraction both surprising and worrisome”, adding: "The industry is going through a critical crossroads, and strategic choices will have to be made as to how to compete with the proliferation of alternative devices and remain relevant to the consumer.”

Bob O'Donnell, IDC Program vice president of clients and displays, also cited sluggish uptake of Windows 8 as a contributor to the decline, noting: “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. While some consumers appreciate the new form factors and touch capabilities of Windows 8, the radical changes to the UI, 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."

The report named HP as the leading PC hardware vendor with a 15.7 per cent market share in the first quarter of 2013, just ahead of Lenovo’s 15.3 per cent. Dell, Acer Group and ASUS rounded off the list of the five vendors.

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