Global PC sales plummet as users turn to tablets and phones

by Kenny Hemphill on April 11, 2013

Worldwide PC sales dropped by 14% in the first quarter of 2013, according to research firm IDC. That’s the biggest quarterly decline recorded since IDC started tracking sales in 2004, and puts PC sales back the level they were at in 2009.

Rival research firm Gartner, which also released figures yesterday, put the fall at 11%.

It appears that a combination of the increasing popularity of tablets and smartphones, and the unpopularity of Windows 8 among consumers are responsible for the plunge in sales.

‘Consumers are migrating content consumption from PCs to other connected devices, such as tablets and smartphones,’ said Mikako Kitagawa, an analyst at Gartner. ‘Even emerging markets, where PC penetration is low, are not expected to be a strong growth area for PC vendors.’

Bob O’Donnell, an analyst at IDC, explained why Windows 8 had contributed to the fall in sales: ‘Users are finding Windows 8 to offer a compromised experience that doesn’t excel either as a new mobile interface or in a classic desktop interface,’ he said.

While IDC and Gartner more or less agreed on the decline in PC sales, they recorded wildly different figures for Mac sales in the US. While Gartner said Mac sales had grown by 7.4% in the US between January and March, IDC recorded a fall of 7.5%. Both companies put Apple in third place in the US, behind HP and Dell.

Last month, Piper Jaffrey analyst, Gene Munster told clients that his analysis of data from another research firm, NPD showed that Mac sales had grown by 14% in January and February. That rise was largely attributed to Apple catching up with back orders for the iMac, and Munster said at the time that he expected sales to be 5% down in March.

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