SAN JOSE, Calif. – The global PC market declined in the fourth quarter of 2012, the first such holiday season drop in more than five years. Sales fell to 89.8 million units, down 6.4 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2011, according to a report from International Data Corp. (IDC).
IDC had forecast a decline of 4.4 percent. Market watchers blamed the shortfall on the shift to smartphones and tablets, a sluggish overall economy and lackluster market performance for systems using Microsoft’s Windows 8.
Asian vendors Lenovo and Asus were among the few to rack up gains in the quarter and the year. U.S. giants Hewlett-Packard and Dell held on to their first and third ranking, respectively, but faced market share declines.
“Lost in the shuffle to promote a touch-centric PC, vendors have not forcefully stressed other features that promote a more secure, reliable and efficient user experience,” said Jay Chou, a senior IDC analyst. “As Windows 8 matures, and other corresponding variables such as Ultrabook pricing continue to drop, hopefully the PC market can see a reset in both messaging and demand in 2013."
The U.S. PC market fell 4.5 percent for the quarter and 7 percent for the full year, IDC estimated. Consumers “mostly saw traditional PCs that feature a new OS (Windows 8) optimized for touch and tablet with applications and hardware that are not yet able to fully utilize these capabilities,” said David Daoud, a research director for IDC.
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HP held on to its position as the top PC vendor worldwide with 16.5 percent share for the full year, according to IDC. But HP's sales declined 0.6 percent in the quarter and 6.7 per cent for the full year.
China’s Lenovo and Taiwan’s Asus were among the gainers in the quarter and the year, edging closer to first and fourth spot, respectively. Lenovo’s annual sales grew 19.2 percent to hit a global market share of 14.9 percent for the year, IDC said. Asus had a 17 percent increase to a 6.8 percent share.
Dell’s sales declined by 12.6 percent for the year, but it maintained its third-place position with 11 percent market share.
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