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PC Slump Continuing in Q3

The PC market is continuing its decline in the third quarter, according to preliminary results from two analyst firms.

IDC and Gartner separately tracked year-over-year global PC shipments suggesting that there will be decreases of 7.6 percent and 8.6 percent, respectively, for the quarter. Their preliminary estimates were based on total global PC shipments of around 80 million devices in Q3. Both firms defined PCs as being desktops and mobile computers, but not Apple iPads.

The decline in PC shipments also was seen last quarter, with analysts pointing to the phenomenon of tablets displacing PCs in the marketplace. IDC originally had projected a year-over-year PC shipment decline of 9.5 percent for Q3, so the 7.6 percent decrease it found was considered to be a better-than-expected result.

The third quarter marks traditional back-to-school sales of computing devices. However, the PC volume was off, according to Gartner's assessment.

"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," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, in a released statement.

The PC dropoff particularly affected device manufacturers such as Acer and Asus that have focused on the consumer market, although both companies are shifting their product lines more toward hybrid devices and tablets.

In terms of worldwide shipments, Lenovo was the top PC vendor, followed closely by HP, with Dell taking up third place (see chart). In the U.S. market, the top PC vendors were HP, Dell and Apple, followed by Lenovo and Toshiba.

U.S. PC shipments for the quarter were either down 0.2 percent (IDC) or up 3.5 percent (Gartner).

"The United States outperformed many other regions as growth stabilized just under 0%," said Rajani Singh, senior research analyst for personal computers at IDC, in a released statement. "Continuing upgrades from Windows XP boosted shipments, particularly in the commercial desktop segment, while retail acceptance of new and emerging product categories, such as Chromebooks and Ultraslims, helped the portables segment."

Still, Singh said that not much has changed in the U.S. market and that it could see some further challenges in 2014.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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