PC shipments declined 13.9% in Q1 ’13, in what is the worst ever decline in shipment numbers since IDC began tracking these numbers in 1994. The company reported these numbers as a part of its Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, which put the proverbial rotten cherry over the proverbial cake of rubbish. While PC shipments have been declining for the last four quarters, this is a significant decline in one go.
PC makers shipped 76.3 million units in the first three months of 2013, which is a 13.9% decline over the same period in 2012. The company had expected a 7.7% drop, but the final results are almost double the estimates.
In the report, the company says that price has been a factor in the slow uptake of touchscreen laptops, introduced by many laptop manufacturers over the last year. Secondly, the introduction of “hybrids” has only added to the confusion, but not added many numbers. The release says, “PC industry efforts to offer touch capabilities and ultraslim systems have been hampered by traditional barriers of price and component supply, as well as a weak reception for Windows 8. The PC industry is struggling to identify innovations that differentiate PCs from other products and inspire consumers to buy, and instead is meeting significant resistance to changes perceived as cumbersome or costly.”
Some of the blame for these bleak numbers has to be shouldered by Microsoft’s latest desktop operating system, Windows 8. "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," said Bob O'Donnell, IDC Program Vice President, Clients and Displays. "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."
HP remains the number 1 vendor globally, with Q1 ’13 shipments clocking 11,997 units. However, that is down 23.7% over the same quarter last year. Lenovo remains in second place, with HP’s declining numbers bringing it closer to the leader. But, Lenovo did not see any shipment growth year on year. Dell’s shipments continued to decline, going down 10.9% this quarter, taking it even further away from Lenovo in second place. IDC, in the report, says that Apple saw a shipment growth in this quarter, but the numbers weren’t very robust because of cannibalization from the iPads.