Worldwide PC shipments totaled 76.3 million units in the first quarter of 2013 (1Q13), down -13.9% compared to the same quarter in 2012 and worse than the forecast decline of -7.7%, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. The extent of the year-on-year contraction marked the worst quarter since IDC began tracking the PC market quarterly in 1994. The results also marked the fourth consecutive quarter of year-on-year shipment declines.
Despite some mild improvement in the economic environment and some new PC models offering Windows 8, PC shipments were down significantly across all regions compared to a year ago. Fading Mini Notebook shipments have taken a big chunk out of the low-end market while tablets and smartphones continue to divert consumer spending. 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.
“Although the reduction in shipments was not a surprise, the magnitude of the contraction is both surprising and worrisome,” said David Daoud, IDC Research Director, Personal Computing.
United States – The U.S. market had another dismal quarter in 1Q13, contracting -12.7% year on year, with a drop of -18.3% compared to the fourth quarter of 2012.
EMEA – As expected, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) remained constrained, posting a stronger double-digit decline than anticipated in the first quarter of 2013. The market response to Windows 8 and touch-enabled devices remained slow.
Japan – PC shipments were in line with expectations in the first quarter. Some economic improvement is helping to support commercial replacement demand ahead of the scheduled end of support for Windows XP next year. However, consumer shipments remained very weak.
Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) (APeJ) – PC shipments in APeJ declined sharply, dropping a record -12.7% year on year, the first time the region has experienced a double-digit decline. Although much of the earlier Windows 7 stock had cleared, a lukewarm reception toward Windows 8 hampered new shipments.
HP remained the top vendor, but posted a substantial double-digit decline in shipments after an aggressive fourth quarter kept growth flat during the holidays. HP’s worldwide shipments fell more than -23% year on year in 1Q13.
Lenovo remained second in global shipments and nearly closed the gap with HP. Lenovo continued to outpace the market, notably expanding shipments with its attack strategy.
Dell saw shipments decline by more than -10% globally and -14% in the United States. The vendor continued to face tough competition and struggled with customer uncertainty about the direction of its restructuring.
Acer Group continued to see substantial declines in shipments across regions. As the leader in Mini Notebook shipments, the vendor has been particularly exposed to the decline in these systems. Slow consumer and SMB growth has also taken a toll.
ASUS managed some growth in the United States, but saw a substantial decline in EMEA and Asia/Pacific. The company’s substantial surge in Americas shipments in the second half of 2012 gave way to limited growth as demand weakened.
Apple fared better than the overall U.S. market, but still saw shipments decline as its own PCs also face competition from iPads.
Toshiba also saw shipments decline in the United States, but fared better than the overall market, benefitting somewhat from the restructuring of market leaders HP and Dell.
Perspective and Predictions
The main question is: why are we in such situation? Since beginning of 2012, we are now in a transition. People wants mobility. They buy tablets in order to have this usage. Until now, PC even laptops are too big, not adapted to mobility, not sufficiently autonomous and with a Windows in transition. These Laptops PC couldn’t be transformed in tablets, or with difficulties. Technologies were not there.
But in parallel, customers that bought tablets are viewing their current limits: easy to consume data and Apps, difficult to create documents or programs; in any case, less performing than PC.
In 2Q13, new tablets PC will be launched by several constructors. Very similar to tablets, and very similar to PC. But these Tablets PC will have too main difficulties: first is the price around 1500 euros for good touch tablet and for good PC with hard disk and minimum of 8 hours of usage and second is Windows 8, which remains in transition.
Then, the market will continue to decrease in 3Q13 and 4Q13. In 1Q14 or 2Q14 should be launched Windows 9 by Microsoft. Same tablets launched on 2Q13 will be sold around 800 – 1000 euros. Starting 2Q14 or 3Q14, PC market will re-increase, pushed in tablets PC.
Prediction is that in 2016, only 10% of PC sold will be Desktop and 90% will be Tablet PC. Starting half of 2014, the market of tablets “alone” (as current iPAD or Galaxy Tab) will decrease.