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Traditional PC market continues to shrink

Traditional PC market continues to shrink

The market for traditional PCs continues to shrink, with industry watcher Gartner claiming an 10.9 per cent dip in shipments this quarter.

Industry watcher Gartner has announced its latest figures for the global PC market, showing a continued drop in shipments for the fifth quarter in a row - unheard of since its records began.

According to Gartner's latest research, all regions globally are seeing a continued slip in shipments as consumers fail to upgrade or spend their cash on alternative products than the traditional desktop or laptop. The Asia/Pacific market fared worst, with its fifth consecutive quarterly drop, while Europe, the Middles East and Africa (EMEA) fared somewhat better with just two consecutive quarters of double-digit decline.

'We are seeing the PC market reduction directly tied to the shrinking installed base of PCs, as inexpensive tablets displace the low-end machines used primarily for consumption in mature and developed markets,' claimed Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, of his research. 'In emerging markets, inexpensive tablets have become the first computing device for many people, who at best are deferring the purchase of a PC. This is also accounting for the collapse of the mini notebook market.'

Overall, the market for desktops, laptops and netbooks shrank a whopping 10.9 per cent in the last quarter compared to the same quarter last year: global shipments are down to 76,000,986 compared to 85,324,591 a year ago. Particularly badly hit were Asus and Acer, who Gartner claims have seen a 20.5 and 35.3 per cent slip in shipments respectively. Traditional box-shifters Dell and HP, meanwhile, have been somewhat insulated from the effects with a 3.9 and 4.8 per cent drop in shipments respectively.

The big winner, if a loss can ever be termed that, is Lenovo: as with previous reports, Lenovo continues to ride the slump well with a mere 0.6 per cent drop in shipments year-on-year. While its market share has dropped from 16.7 per cent to 14.9 per cent - allowing HP, with 15.3 per cent, to regain first place once more - the company is seeing its shipment figures hold steady while its competitors face decline.

'While Windows 8 has been blamed by some as the reason for the PC market’s decline,' Kitagawa added of the report, 'we believe this is unfounded as it does not explain the sustained decline in PC shipments, nor does it explain Apple’s market performance.' The latter is in reference to news that Apple, which has been unaffected by consumer disinterest in Windows 8 for reasons that should be obvious, will at best post no growth in its financial filing at the end of the year.

26 Comments

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WarrenJ 11th July 2013, 11:28 Quote
i think the main issue is people don't need to upgrade as the hardware is currently outpacing the software requirements. I think there will always be a need for a workspace in the home but for casual browsing and the like a tablet will do most people.

I expect workstations will be expensive in the coming years as mobile hardware will be in higher demand.
B1GBUD 11th July 2013, 11:56 Quote
How does the overall drop in PC sales compare to the sales of upgrade components? As most people (certainly here on BT) looking for better performance will look at what components they can upgrade rather than buying a whole new system.
Icy EyeG 11th July 2013, 11:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Article
'While Windows 8 has been blamed by some as the reason for the PC market’s decline,' Kitagawa added of the report, 'we believe this is unfounded as it does not explain the sustained decline in PC shipments

My whole family is postponing laptop purchases because of Windows 8, and I've been helping them getting their current laptops faster by installing Xubuntu and maxing out RAM (got some used DDR2/3 SODIMMs at bargain price a couple of months ago). In some cases I even bought new batteries. So not linking Windows 8 made them realize they didn't really needed the upgrade in the first place.

In my case, I completely overhauled my desktop 2 years ago and I expect it to last 2 more years, at least. The only thing I wanted to upgrade was RAM, but since the prices skyrocketed I won't be buying it any time soon.
Since my laptop is almost 4 years old, I'll probably buy a Novatech Ultrabook, once they become available with full HD screens. Since they don't come with a Windows licence (I wouldn't be using it anyway), the shipping cost is worth it, because here in Portugal is impossible to buy an ultrabook without being shoved Windows 8 down your throat, and the added cost of the license is more expensive than the shipping cost from the UK, ironically.

So in my personal experience is a mix between not liking Windows 8 and not really needing to buy new hardware (everyone in the family gets by with minor upgrades of no more than 30-50€).
I also think the extinction of the netbook segment is also contributing to the decline. I see many people here in Portugal going to IT stores looking for a netbook in the 300€ price range and either decide not to buy anything or end up buying an Android tablet.
rollo 11th July 2013, 12:12 Quote
General population does not need upgrades. Add an ssd to a core2 duo and it flys for most tasks that most do.
Xir 11th July 2013, 12:46 Quote
Quote:
used primarily for consumption ...
Traditional box-shifters Dell and HP, meanwhile, have been somewhat insulated from the effects
This, Dell and HP sell to companies that use their computers for productivity...Tablets are primarily consumption devices.
The decline we see is primarily in the private sector, not the business sector.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Icy EyeG
I also think the extinction of the netbook segment is also contributing to the decline. I see many people here in Portugal going to IT stores looking for a netbook in the 300€ price range and either decide not to buy anything or end up buying an Android tablet.
I've been looking for one, in the sub 300€ area, there's none left.
Icy EyeG 11th July 2013, 12:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xir

I've been looking for one, in the sub 300€ area, there's none left.

Well, you can always try to find an Asus X201E online.
DC74 11th July 2013, 12:57 Quote
I agree with some of the comments made, technology is outstripping software development and as such people don't need to upgrade as frequently. That said Intel's recent Haswell CPU's are barely faster than Sandybridge of a few years ago, not fast enough to warrant the expense of rebuilding a system.

Couple this with the fact that Microsoft's disastrous Windows 8 and it's apparent reworks have harmed new PC sales. All of the people I know who use their PC's at home for Gaming/streaming/video encoding and managing their lives, have said they tried Windows 8 and found it horrible to use and that the tile-touch screen interface just isn't appropriate for Desktops. As an Operating System it would be fine but it seems a step too far to force users to use an interface that just wasn't suitable. Perhaps Microsoft should have realised this instead of being arrogant and trying to dictate the path of evolution.

Me and my partner are buying new laptops in the next few weeks and were shopping in town, saw the ones liked and were put off by the fact they were using Windows 8, but encouraged by the shop assistant that said he could order them in with Windows 7 on instead. If shops are doing this then perhaps Microsoft should take note.
impar 11th July 2013, 13:07 Quote
Greetings!

Windows 8 doesnt help PC sales, sure. But it can become usable with some tweaks. We shouldnt need to do them, but Microsoft is just stubborn to not include UI options.

Funny thing is that if Microsoft listensed to consumers and offered a more consensual W8 experience it would help increase W8 usage share in this critical point in time where XP is losing support in less than a year. Instead of migrating to W7, W8 would be the chosen one.

PS:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Icy EyeG
... end up buying an Android tablet.
You noticed that too?
Corky42 11th July 2013, 13:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by impar
Windows 8 doesnt help PC sales, sure. But it can become usable with some tweaks. We shouldnt need to do them, but Microsoft is just stubborn to not include UI options.

The problem is you average Jo consumer who buys new PC's because they don't know how to upgrade their existing one probably don't know they can tweak 8 to their needs.

I to would be interested as B1GBUD said how the decline in PC sales compares to sales in upgrade components.
Is it just your average Jo switching to tablets and such because they don't see the reason to replace that box sitting under the desk ?
impar 11th July 2013, 13:25 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
The problem is you average Jo consumer who buys new PC's because they don't know how to upgrade their existing one probably don't know they can tweak 8 to their needs.
Not arguing there. Sick and tired of geting calls to "fix" W8 UI.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Is it just your average Jo switching to tablets and such because they don't see the reason to replace that box sitting under the desk ?
They change to what they know. They most have an android phone, transition is easy.
LordPyrinc 11th July 2013, 14:09 Quote
If you bought a decent dual or quad core processor 5 years ago, its still a very capable machine. My current MOBO and processor are 3.5 years old, but I really don't see changing either out anytime soon. I'd get a better performance boost by swapping out my 10,000 rpm VelociRaptors for SSDs. Downside is that I don't have USB 3.0 support on the MOBO, but I can live without that for now. I could always OC my processor, but what would that give me? Probably nothing noticeable.

Only updates I've done in the last 3.5 years was to move everything to a new case, new GPUs, and I swapped out the 3x2 GB RAM sticks for 2x8 RAM sticks. Still same HDs (no reformatting as of yet since Windows 7 still running great), same PSU, and Blu-Ray drive.

On the other hand, my OTS HP Pavilion Elite, 6 or 7 years old, is plenty capable for most casual users and could even be a decent gaming rig with the right GPU slapped in there. It's got an upgraded PSU and an 8800 GT in there now as it is.
Phil Rhodes 11th July 2013, 14:40 Quote
Sigh. I was an Amiga user, I've been here before :(
DriftCarl 11th July 2013, 14:57 Quote
For home users, upgrading from a mechanical drive to an SSD would seem like they got a brand new PC. This is what I am planning to do to my parents computer soon.
For enthusiastic gamers, would it be fair to say most buy the components and build it themselves? I certainly do, and just bought a new setup last week.
Yaka 11th July 2013, 15:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
Sigh. I was an Amiga user, I've been here before :(

This!

But I also think games play thier part in the. Decline as well there's not really been a killer pc only game that shifts as much copies as say a popular console game does these days.
Phil Rhodes 11th July 2013, 17:13 Quote
The only upside is that PCs are - for now - used for a lot of other things. The issue being, I suppose, that most of the office stuff doesn't need anything like the level of hardware that is often used to run it, as has been mentioned previously. Eventually the world will realise that much lower powered gear (be it intel, arm, windows, droid, etc) will do fine.

Even then there will still be significant workstation and server tasks that will need the big iron, but if that's the case it's going to get a lot more expensive.

Ultimately I don't care what I run, I need it to do work, but if the top end gets a lot more pricey because there are no longer games pushing the boundaries, that's really a problem.
Bindibadgi 12th July 2013, 03:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
Sigh. I was an Amiga user, I've been here before :(

It's two fold.

1) As long as there is hardware being made for it, people will buy it. You don't get thousands of tech sites drawing hundreds of thousands to millions of readers, each, globally, if there isn't interest in spending money and using PCs. The demand is there, it's just not on the scale as before.

2) The drops are in the budget and home segments. Business' and power users are still upgrading but like said most people at home are avoiding Win 8 or opting for tablets or smartphones. Even tablet and smartphone uptake has slowed though, with Gartner saying high-end phones will only grow 35% in the next year, but mainstream will increase 600+%. All those people with old notebooks/EeePCs will swap them out for budget smartphones and still be able to read the net/answer email/watch cat videos.

So, while it suits some agendas in media/tech companies to shout about post-PC, it's not going to be eradicated entirely. There will be an inevitable drop but to an eventual plateau that serves business, professionals and power users. As long as you keep vocal and keep buying, they will of course cater to you. Likewise, if people keep saying "I'll wait for next gen" there is less likely to be one, because evaluations on sales figures are on each generation. No one has a duty to keep providing one market with hardware and if they see less people buying then they'll shift the R&D budget elsewhere.
Xir 12th July 2013, 09:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
All those people with old notebooks/EeePCs will swap them out for budget smartphones and still be able to read the net/answer email/watch cat videos.
I'm mostly with you there, but for the "answer email" part.
I've been using my Smartphone a lot to answer emails the last few weeks (due to not having a PC close) and copy-pasteing and typing are so frustrating I could fling it out the window with the window closed.

*pet peeve: trying to mark the text to be copied, and it starts scrolling and can't be stopped.
Xir 12th July 2013, 09:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Icy EyeG
Well, you can always try to find an Asus X201E online.
Not bad, not bad...
Glossy display though. Hmmm I'll need to look into this one, Thx for the Tip!;)
Bindibadgi 12th July 2013, 10:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xir
I'm mostly with you there, but for the "answer email" part.
I've been using my Smartphone a lot to answer emails the last few weeks (due to not having a PC close) and copy-pasteing and typing are so frustrating I could fling it out the window with the window closed.

*pet peeve: trying to mark the text to be copied, and it starts scrolling and can't be stopped.

True. I find most people use email like they do whatsapp or text message through phones. The quality of English will travel even further south until any kind of interpersonal message will consist of random mashes of roughly the right letters without even spaces.
impar 12th July 2013, 10:30 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xir
I'm mostly with you there, but for the "answer email" part.
You can read emails on the smartphone, creating or replying may be more difficult depending on the complexity of the text, attachements, etc.
schmidtbag 12th July 2013, 15:35 Quote
The only reason desktops aren't replaced entirely is because most laptops still make crappy gaming systems and workstations. The reason laptops aren't replaced by tablets yet is because there's still plenty of people who like physical keyboards and have a program or 2 that they need x86 Windows for. I have a strong feeling that this drop in sales will plateau within a couple years, when most people have phased out their old platforms and have a final decision in which platform they prefer. Tablets and phones will likely always have a stable sales increase, as they'll be able to perform more tasks (and more complicated too) while staying within the same power envelope.

But overall, I don't see desktop PCs or laptops being phased out in a long time. I find laptops today pretty disappointing in terms of price vs performance vs battery life.
Xir 12th July 2013, 20:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by impar
You can read emails on the smartphone, creating or replying may be more difficult depending on the complexity of the text, attachements, etc.

Yes, reading works great...answering, especially when longer, is a pain (hence the copy-pasting, which is also a pain) :D
Xir 12th July 2013, 20:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
I have a strong feeling that this drop in sales will plateau within a couple years, when most people have phased out their old platforms and have a final decision in which platform they prefer.
Businesses just upgraded to Win7, Heck I know some that still use XP (proprietory software). It'l take them a decade to move to the next OS (then)
Elton 12th July 2013, 20:56 Quote
Market saturation. Everyon has one and for basic usage people don't really care as long as it works.

I still see Pentium 4 boxes at work. And that's scary, but telling about general usage patterns. People can't justify spending the big bucks upgrading usually. Coupled with the noticeable performance wall being eliminated with the C2D era (okay they're not that fast, but they do ok) and it makes upgrades not very compelling.

TL;DR: 6 year old PC technology is still serviceable for most folks.
ssj12 13th July 2013, 11:23 Quote
There is so many reasons for this.

1. is W8.

2. Is no games to drive upgrades. If Half-Life 3 came out tomorrow PC sales would jump again.

3. People are sticking with old since its cheaper to repair. I've replaced 3 laptop screens and ASUS just replaced an HDD slightly over its warranty for free on another.

4. On the road use has transitioned to the portability of tablets instead of laptops. Grant it if laptops could all shrink to the size of the Razer Blade, it would help.
Elton 13th July 2013, 20:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssj12
There is so many reasons for this.

1. is W8.

2. Is no games to drive upgrades. If Half-Life 3 came out tomorrow PC sales would jump again.

3. People are sticking with old since its cheaper to repair. I've replaced 3 laptop screens and ASUS just replaced an HDD slightly over its warranty for free on another.

4. On the road use has transitioned to the portability of tablets instead of laptops. Grant it if laptops could all shrink to the size of the Razer Blade, it would help.


1. Not true, W8 really isn't as bad as one would imagine, even with all the outrage PCs are still selling, there is no connection that the OS caused a drop in sales. The more obvious answer is how saturated the market already is.

2. Not true either, we just think so but let's be honest, it's not the games but the engines that haven't progressed. Personally i don't mind one way or another, saves me money and I still upgrade every 2-3 gens anyhow.

3. People stick to old not because its cheaper to repair, but because there isn't a huge discernible difference in performance to the average user anymore.

4. Yes tablets have replaced the casual email/youtube PC user. It sure as hell hasn't replaced the need for a proper keyboard for typists though.
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