In the fourth quarter of 2012, 89.8 million PCs (which include laptops and desktop computers) were shipped, a drop of 6.4 percent compared to the same period a year earlier. In addition, when considering the entire year of 2012, 352.4 million PC devices were sold, an overall decline of 3.2 percent.
“Although the third quarter was focused on the clearing of Windows 7 inventory, preliminary research indicates the clearance did not significantly boost the uptake of Windows 8 systems in Q4,” said Jay Chou, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. “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. 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.”
“As anticipated, the U.S. market had a rough ending, dropping 4.5% in the fourth quarter and contributing to a decline of 7% for the full year 2012,” said David Daoud, research director, IDC U.S. Quarterly PC Tracker. “Consumers expected all sorts of cool PCs with tablet and touch capabilities. Instead, they 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. Despite a generally weak performance, some leading brands managed do to well relative to the market. HP, Lenovo, Asus, and Samsung were among the top performers, taking advantage of some consumer interest in Windows 8, and a push to build up their presence ahead of 2013.”
According to the IDC, this is the very first time in over five years that sales have declined year-on-year during the holiday season and certainly paints a grim picture for the PC market, at least in the short term. Windows 8 sales are steady and many factors can play into the sales, such as the economy, and the fact that modern PCs generally last longer than PCs did a few years ago. Still, the biggest factor can be blamed on the steady transition to mobile devices and tablets such as the Surface and the iPad, though the iPad also declined in sales this year overall.