PC takes a big hit, but worst may be over

2014-01-10 09:40
PCs are suffering as sales decline. (Dion Wired)

PCs are suffering as sales decline. (Dion Wired)

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Cape Town - It's been a miserable year for computer manufacturing with the market taking yet another body blow, research has shown.

Industry tracker Gartner found in preliminary results that the PC market has declined consistently for nearly two years. The decline of 10% in 2013 is the worst in the history of the industry with some manufactures being hit hard.

Lenovo was a winner among losers by maintaining a slim 2.1% growth rate over 2012 numbers. It shipped 52 million units in 2013, the results show.

Second place HP was knocked down from the top spot as it saw a significant 9.3% drop, but Acer is bleeding as it saw an erosion of 28.1% market share, Gartner found.

Gartner said that despite the bad news for PC manufacturing as consumers turn to mobile technology like tablets and smartphones, it is likely that the worst is over.

Shopping

"Although PC shipments continued to decline in the worldwide market in the fourth quarter, we increasingly believe markets, such as the US, have bottomed out as the adjustment to the installed base slows," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner.

Indeed, manufactures like HP and Acer appear to have pivoted toward tablets even as PCs remain key to their market offering.

Also, people in developing countries are adopting tablets instead of PCs, Kitagawa said.

"Strong growth in tablets continued to negatively impact PC growth in emerging markets. In emerging markets, the first connected device for consumers is most likely a smartphone, and their first computing device is a tablet. As a result, the adoption of PCs in emerging markets will be slower as consumers skip PCs for tablets."

Research has shown that tablets are eroding the PC market and the holiday season saw consumers opting for smart devices as gifts, further denting PCs as a shopping option.

"Holiday sales of technology products were strong in the US market, but consumer spending during the holidays did not come back to PCs as tablets were one of the hottest holiday items," said Kitagawa.

Features

She added though, that the PC market may have hit bottom and the industry will stabilise especially as manufactures begin including features like SSD as opposed to traditional hard drives to entice consumers.

This should also allow for weight savings and many PCs are being offered with touch screens that may make the format more attractive than premium tablets.

"We think that the U.S. PC market has bottomed out. A variety of new form factors, such as hybrid notebooks, drew holiday shoppers' attention, but the market size was very small at the time. Lowering the price point of thin and light products started encouraging the PC replacement and potentially some PC growth in 2014," Kitagawa said.

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