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Global PC market slowdown to continue

Global PC market slowdown to continue

Despite signs of growth - or, at least, slowing shrinkage - in the US, market watchers are predicting the PC market to continue to fall throughout 2014.

Shipment figures gathered by IDC and Gartner show little sign of recovery in the global market for traditional PCs, although the US is showing early signs of stability and even minor growth.

The market for traditional desktops and laptops has been in for a tough few years. The explosion of interest in low-cost tablet devices has been directly named as a contributing factor, coupled with slower than hoped for uptime at the launch of Windows 8. In April this year, industry watcher IDC reported the biggest drop in shipments since its records began in 1994.

According to Gartner's most recent quarterly report, the market dropped 8.6 per cent year-on-year overall - an improvement on the 10.9 per cent drop it recorded last quarter. '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,' warned Mikako Kitagawa, Gartner principal analyst.

'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. A greater availability of inexpensive Android tablets attracted first-time consumers in emerging markets, and as supplementary devices in mature markets.'

For some, however, the figures show the first signs of growth: Lenovo, HP, and Dell made up the top three companies in market share and enjoyed small increases year-on-year of 2.8 per cent, 1.5 per cent, and one per cent respectively. Others weren't so lucky: Acer and Asus both saw similar drops in their traditional PC shipments of 22.6 and 22.5 per cent respectively.

Broken down globally, it's interesting to see where the market is growing and shrinking: the US market grew 3.5 per cent year-on-year overall by Gartner's counting, while here in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) shipments dropped a whopping 13.7 per cent.

Rival market tracker IDC's figures vary slightly from those gathered by Gartner, but still show some improvement: according to IDC, worldwide shipments shrank 7.5 per cent year-on-year compared with a forecasted 9.5 per cent decline. That wasn't enough to cheer the analysts, however: 'The third quarter was pretty close to forecast, which unfortunately doesn't reflect much improvement in the PC market, or potential for near-term growth,' claimed IDC's vice president of worldwide PC trackers Loren Loverde.

'Despite being a little ahead of forecast, and the work that's being done on new designs and integration of features like touch, the third quarter results suggest that there's still a high probability that we will see another decline in worldwide shipments in 2014.'

With signs of recovery in the US, however, it could be that the market will finally stabilise - news that will be welcomed by traditional PC makers who have failed to capitalise on the interest in more portable computing devices.

21 Comments

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Corky42 10th October 2013, 11:56 Quote
Doesn't this say more about people not wanting to buy from the established OEM brands than any decline in actual PC hardware sales.
DbD 10th October 2013, 12:07 Quote
Decline is pretty obvious - everyone is buying phones/tablets/consoles not PC's with their hard earned cash. Even those who do buy PC's are buying less due to market stagnation - cpu's have barely changed for years now, gpu's are faster but have got a lot more expensive. Games don't push the hardware as much as they used too as most are just console ports.
Corky42 10th October 2013, 12:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DbD
Decline is pretty obvious

Not really, the graphics market increased 4.6% in Q2 2013 despite the decline in unit sales from the major OEM's While Steam shows year-on-year growth of 76%

It seems more that people don't want to buy the junk some OEM's are are designing.
blacko 10th October 2013, 12:45 Quote
all hail Gabe and his steambox....the future of PC gaming...the saviour of many pc world jobs.
fix-the-spade 10th October 2013, 13:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by blacko
all hail Gabe and his steambox....the future of PC gaming...the saviour of many pc world jobs.

What if Valve adopt a direct sales strategy? It worked for them with games.
Silver51 10th October 2013, 14:00 Quote
My neighbour bought a tablet as a "upgrade" from an old laptop.
It did not do what he expected it to do.

While a lot of people buy a tablet as an ancillary to a laptop or desktop PC, many have trouble distinguishing product lines and buy a tablet as an upgrade to current hardware then wonder why they can't do everything they could before.
Corky42 10th October 2013, 15:02 Quote
Don't forget

Global PC shipped for Q3 2013 still = 81 Million (aprox)
http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS24375913

Global tablet shipped for Q2 2013 = 45 Million (aprox)
http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS24253413

Granted they are three months apart, and predictions (such that they are) point to tablet sales outstripping PC sales in 2014.
rollo 10th October 2013, 15:06 Quote
Outside of apple, shipped does not = sold which is what most of these guesses are based on. For tablets this is even more the way it's done. None of the major competitors ever release true any numbers.

Pc sales / shipped is = difficult to pin down.
itrush07 10th October 2013, 15:13 Quote
Hmm, so does this mean a lot of the gamers and internet browsers are now using tablets and smartphones for their gaming and internet needs?
rollo 10th October 2013, 16:42 Quote
Gamers and IT enthusiasts are a tiny % of the actual PC population.
jrs77 10th October 2013, 17:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by rollo
Gamers and IT enthusiasts are a tiny % of the actual PC population.

This exactly.

The business-sector replaces their hardware not very often, as all the office-stuff can be basically done on 10 year-old hardware, and the end-consumers who bought PCs for media-consumptions, communication and browsing have shiifted mostly to smartphones and tablets.

The rest of the people who do want to do some work with their PCs at home are usually only doing some light work like office or some media-editing, but as the business-sector, you don't need to replace your hardware very often for these tasks.

The people in forums like these have a skewed picture naturally, as they either tend to do some serious work at home or they're PC-gamers, but this is maybe 5% of the whole endconsumer-market.

I wouldn't be too surprised if companies like Dell or HP shift more and more towards business only, and stop selling their PCs to end-consumers within the next five years and only keep sellinig their notebooks/laptops/AIOs to end-consumers.
Apple has basically stopped selling anything else than notebooks/laptops/AIOs and the upcoming MacPro iis basically nothing else than an AIO.

It's not that bad news tho, as their'll allways be a need for standard-components. The only thing that might happen is that the prices will increase due to less demand.
CowBlazed 11th October 2013, 23:39 Quote
Needed a new office PC for my Dad and as it's for a business environment you don't get much time to shop around and wait for a good deal.

Market is as you would expect in the $300-400 price range mostly APUs and Core i3 systems with 4-6GB of RAM all of which perform well enough but it's pretty obvious Windows 8 is turning most people away from buying these systems.

Windows 8 has a bad rep and for casual/office users it sticks out as a reason not to buy any of these systems. Unlike in the past when you could easily downgrade (directly through Microsoft even for Vista-XP users) BB employees have told me it's actually impossible due to the UEFI BIOS and there being no CD key provided though of course it is possible using your own copy if you can find all the requisite drivers.

They also recommend me to install "Windows Shell" to get a start button and start menu back while also saying it's apparently impossible to make DVD backup partitions anymore and a 32GB flash drive must be sacrificed instead which I haven't been able to confirm.

Ended up with a tiny Acer Core i3 based machine as the AMD APU's focus on graphics over general processing isn't the best fit for a strictly office and web PC.
dolphie 12th October 2013, 04:42 Quote
The market just needs to adapt or suffer. Tablets are king for casual users and that's a massive percentage of the market. And then most offices have crappy old hardware anyway and very rarely upgrade, so they are going to suffer long term. And it's only going to get worse as tablets get better too. Currently they are glorified ebook readers, especially the apple type ones because they can't do anything over an iphone or whatever. But once more tablets come out with usb ports and hdmi and fully fledged operating systems that let you install whatever you want, then more people are going to go that route. I can imagine a point where they are so cheap and so mass produced that everyone will have one eventually, kind of like a wristwatch used to be and how smartphones are today. Eventually everyone will have one for reading or watching films in the bath or whatever, and an ever smaller number of people will want a full PC.
Cthippo 12th October 2013, 05:30 Quote
Tablets are a lot like microwaves, they do most of what you need to do. Most of us have the stove and oven, but it gets used seldom and replaced even more seldom, whereas the microwave gets used daily and wears out faster.

Desktop PCs aren't going away, but the trend of selling fewer and fewer of them will continue for a while until a plateau is reached.

Windows 8 certainly isn't helping anything, except perhaps the uptake of Android.

I can't see ever not owning and using a desktop PC, but I can certainly see adding a tablet in the next year or so.
AmEv 12th October 2013, 07:10 Quote
I do agree that those that upgrade often are those that need as much raw power as they can muster.
Whereas I know someone who's using a computer older than my youngest brother as their Internet PC because thay have no need to upgrade.


Simultaneous 2011 tablet/2011 PC user here.

But, yes, I use my computer for two things: "serious" gaming, and compiling code. The only reason I've OCed my procy to 4.1 is so I can pump out code faster.
impar 12th October 2013, 09:49 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by CowBlazed
They also recommend me to install "Windows Shell" to get a start button and start menu back...
Classic Shell:
http://www.classicshell.net/

Over here is the same thing, employees of large retail stores give some points to potential customers on how to manouver in W8 and then, after seeing the customers face, suggest a StartMenu replacement.

PS: Or suggest tablets, depending on the intended use, where Android rules via price.
Nexxo 12th October 2013, 10:32 Quote
Then again, how good is the tech advice of sales people in large retail stores? I recall all the jokes we make about PC World staff... :p
impar 12th October 2013, 11:56 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Then again, how good is the tech advice of sales people in large retail stores?
Very variable.
Harlequin 12th October 2013, 13:46 Quote
Currently In italy on the wife's galaxy tab 2. Does everything my netbook can and its slimmer and thus perfect for our trip away
Kranston 13th October 2013, 18:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Then again, how good is the tech advice of sales people in large retail stores? I recall all the jokes we make about PC World staff... :p

I recall visiting my local PC World to buy a graphics card. I was tempted by a Radeon 9600XT (which turned out to be a bad choice, but that's a different matter), but wasn't sure if my pre-built PC's 250 watt PSU would suffice. I asked a member of staff about it and he sort of looked bewildered and proceeded to turn the 9600XT's box over a few times while glaring at it. Then he gave up, and called over one of his colleagues, who was none the wiser. The PSU was good enough, but they didn't have a clue about it.

Last time I was in they hardly had any PC components on display. It looked more like a television showroom. I don't even bother browsing in there now, and buy all my components online.

Anyway, I'm rambling off topic.
Cthippo 14th October 2013, 21:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harlequin
Currently In italy on the wife's galaxy tab 2. Does everything my netbook can and its slimmer and thus perfect for our trip away

Having just gotten back from a month in California on vacation I have to say that while a tablet would have been nice at times, I NEED at least a laptop. Several reasons for this, really:

1. Downloading cameras and video: We shoot a lot of stills and video on vacation, something like 70 or 75 GB for the month. This gets saved to the laptop and edited there, which is something else I can't imagine trying to do on a tablet.

2. Writing: I did a fair bit of writing while I was there for a book I might publish someday. It was challenging enough of the small laptop keyboard, I can't imagine using a touchscreen or dock keyboard. If you're going to be spending hours writing on a computer, you want a real desktop.

3. Gaming: I spent a few hours playing World of Tanks while on vacation. Couldn't have done that on the tablet.
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