Briefing: May 16, 2013

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Worldwide PC sales experience sharp decline

While annual U.S. purchases of computers continued to exhibit a strong upward trend in 2012, worldwide use of computers appears to be on shaky grounds.

Sale of computers of grew 12 percent in 2012, which is down from the 35 percent growth in 2011, but still a solid jump, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. The sales were up 7 percent in the first quarter of the year compared to the same period in 2012. Some components of final sales of computers include computer parts.

Worldwide use of computers, however, is a different story. According to recent numbers released by International Data Corp. (IDC) and Gartner Inc., worldwide PC shipments were at its lowest in the first quarter of 2013 since the second quarter of 2013.

IDC reported that worldwide PC shipments totaled 76.3 million units in the first quarter of 2013, down 14 percent compared to the same quarter in 2012. The extent of the year-on-year contraction marked the worst quarter since IDC began tracking the PC market quarterly in 1994.  

Similarly, preliminary results by Gartner reported worldwide PC shipments of 79.2 million units in the first quarter of 2013, an 11 percent decline from the first quarter of 2012. Global PC shipments went below 80 million units for the first time since the second quarter of 2009. All regions showed a decrease in shipments, with the EMEA region experiencing the steepest decline.

“In the first quarter of 2013, it was the fourth consecutive quarter that showed a drop in worldwide PC shipments,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. “Consumers are migrating content consumption from PCs to other connected devices, such as tablets and smartphones. Even emerging markets, where PC penetration is low, are not expected to be a strong growth area for PC vendors.

“Unlike the consumer PC segment, the professional PC market, which accounts for about half of overall PC shipments, has seen growth, driven by continuing PC refreshes. Despite the fact that some regions already passed the peak of PC refresh, overall professional PC demand continued to grow.”

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