The technology retail market is undergoing a structural shift. A preliminary report released by Gartner showed that worldwide PC shipments totaled 90.3 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012, a 4.9 percent decline from the same period last year. Analysts said the PC industry’s problems point to something beyond a weak economy.
Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, said tablets have dramatically changed the device landscape for PCs, not so much by ‘cannibalizing’ PC sales, but by causing PC users to shift consumption to tablets rather than replacing older PCs.
“Whereas as once we imagined a world in which individual users would have both a PC and a tablet as personal devices, we increasingly suspect that most individuals will shift consumption activity to a personal tablet, and perform creative and administrative tasks on a shared PC. There will be some individuals who retain both, but we believe they will be exception and not the norm. Therefore, we hypothesize that buyers will not replace secondary PCs in the household, instead allowing them to age out and shifting consumption to a tablet,” he explained.
Even the launch of Microsoft’s much-awaited new Windows 8 platform failed to lift the lackluster holiday PC sales. Given a wide array of choices and mega deals such as low-priced notebooks, consumers still directed their attention elsewhere.
In 4Q 2012, Gartner reported that HP regained the top position as the top PC seller, with 14.9 million units shipped for a 16.2 percent share of the global PC market. Lenovo came in second, with 13.9 million units shipped, or a market share of 15.5 percent. Dell rounded out the top 3, with Dell
9.2 million units shipped, or 10.2 percent market share.
PC shipments in Asia-Pacific totaled 29.9 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012, a 1.8 percent decline from the fourth quarter of 2011. Vendors struggled to offer compelling products to convince buyers to upgrade and attract new buyers as consumers’ interest continues to be on smartphones and tablets. The introduction of Windows 8 met with lukewarm response and availability was primarily on the higher-end models, which were priced beyond the mainstream price point for volume sales.