PC shipments fall 11% in Q2 2013, tablets to blame

According to both research firms Gartner and IDC, worldwide PC shipments have fallen in Q2 2013 by around 11% year-on-year. There were approximately 76 million PC shipments in the second quarter of this year, down from approximately 85 million the same time last year, which accounts for the negative growth, marking the fifth consecutive quarter of declining shipments.

Both companies provide similar statistics in which every major PC vendor sees worldwide declines: Lenovo (-1.4% according to IDC/-0.6% according to Gartner), Dell (-4.2%/-3.9%) and HP (-7.7%/-4.8%) see relatively small declines, while Asus (-21.1%/-20.5%) and Acer (-32.6%/-35.5%) see huge declines in shipments. However, as HP declined more throughout this period, Lenovo has now jumped into the number one PC vendor slot.

Gartner and IDC seem to agree that people are choosing to pick up cheap tablets over cheap laptops and other PCs, which is accounting for some of the decline especially in emerging markets. In the previous quarter, IDC liked to lay some of the blame on Windows 8, however this time around both have refrained from slamming Microsoft's OS, with Gartner's Mikako Kitagawa especially mentioning that this assumption is "unfounded".

While Windows 8 has been blamed by some as the reason for the PC market’s decline, we believe this is unfounded as it does not explain the sustained decline in PC shipments, nor does it explain Apple’s market performance.

Source: Gartner, IDC

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8.1 is all about making Tablets easier to use and does little for the majority of Desktop users.

On the Desktop touchscreens are a gimmick that are soon abandoned as impracticable.

The Start Button is NOT what the majority of people were asking for, what they actually wanted was the WHOLE Start Button/Menu System brought back, and they will not be appeased by just adding a button to link to the Start Screen.

For the average home user things like Cloud Storage/Sky Drive are irrelevant and not used. Most Desktop PC users quickly give up on 'Apps' as they are woefully underpowered and irritating to use.

So what does that leave in Windows 8.1 for the average home Desktop User? Not a lot! Mainly some bug fixes and subtle tweaks.

There is a very obvious reason for the decline in Desktop sales and that is that home consumers don't upgrade every year and never will. When the PC finally went big and most people bought one they did so with the mindset of how they previously bought things like TVs, etc.

Average people will only upgrade their PC at home when it either a) breaks, or b) is so wildly out of date it NEEDS replacing. So all those PCs sold over the last several years will sit inpeoples homes for the foreseeable future.

Those of us who have a PC as ah hobby still upgrade out machines ourselves piece by piece over the years.

Windows 8.1 will not be enough to appease the enthusiast and does nothing so much better than Windows 7 (or indeed 8) that Joe public will rush out to buy it/download it.

Very soon the Tablet market will saturate the ways PC have and the average consumer will stop buying them as, like their PCs/TVs/etc. they will only upgrade when absolutely necessary.

Likewise they only pay to upgrade software when absolutely necessary and Windows 8.x offers nothing over Windows 7 that is appealing to Mr/Ms average home user. In fact many find that WinXP is still more than they need so won't be upgrading anytime soon.

I have been using Windows 8 since it came out and to be perfectly honest I have noticed NO major improvements over Windows 7. It starts up in about the same amount of time, it runs about the same speed and it has no extra functionality that I need or want. I don't use 'The Cloud' for anything, I don't use a touchscreen, and I don't use gimmicky 'apps' (If I want to know the weather I look out the Window - DUH!).

If Windows is to keep selling in huge quantities then it will need to TRULY innovate and not just follow trends. Windows 7 was a great OS, but Windows 8.x belongs in the archives next to WinMe and Vista.

The average home user simply needs something that has a web browser and the ability to launch a few applications such as a word processor. Any PC from the last 10 years is good enough for this purpose. If a PC can do the basics, then it's good enough for that person.

People that view this website are enthusiasts. We want the latest and greatest and buy new hardware regularly but we make up a tiny, tiny proportion of the market.

When people are struggling to put food on the table the last thing they will be doing is buying a PC they don't need. And those that have a little bit of disposable income are happy to purchase a smartphone or tablet as it allows them to browse the web which is what the vast majority of people want to do.

I think that most of the people that actually wants a desktop goes and buys the components by him/herself, it's cheaper and at the end you get a very powerfull machine.

Most people just buy a PC and never upgrade a single thing. Once the machine dies after 4, 5, 7, 9+ years or whatever they will then buy a new one.

You can get a decent PC or notebook for as little as £300 which is more than good enough for the average home user.

Now, where are the people who were laughing when I said that PC sales are on decline because many people are using tablets for 'media/Web/Social/ETC' and do not require a PC, while 'most' of the people that do require a PC, require it for work.

I think it's silly for them not to count the newer form factor hybrids and convertibles in this list. Which people are saying is the case. Why limit "PC" sales to just tower desktops and laptops and not things like my Samsung Ativ Smart PC? Once I dock it to the kb it's now a full x86 laptop. Why not count this?

I don't see tablets ever replacing laptops or desktops . They are a luxury form of computing and not a necessity like a laptop is. I personally like sitting down on the couch using a laptop for hours rather than my tablet. I see bigger cell phones in the future that will take over the job of a tablet. As much as a touchscreen is nice, it isn't always practical especially playing games and doing work. Whether a laptop is better or tablet, is just purely subjective.

Lone Wanderer Chicken said,
I don't see tablets ever replacing laptops or desktops . They are a luxury form of computing and not a necessity like a laptop is. I personally like sitting down on the couch using a laptop for hours rather than my tablet. I see bigger cell phones in the future that will take over the job of a tablet. As much as a touchscreen is nice, it isn't always practical especially playing games and doing work. Whether a laptop is better or tablet, is just purely subjective.

Well, then the PC market will hit point where it stops losing share and stays stagnate. That's if tablets don't replace laptops in most cases. But I think lots of people don't have a necessity to use a laptop and can get by with just a tablet. Business and work is different of course but still, business doesn't make up the majority. You could have one work PC but at home you could have 3-4 tablets for the family, those could've been laptops but now they're not.

I think if anything it's the other way around. Tablets provide basic functionality whilst laptops and desktops are a "luxury" that provide more functionality.

Though it's quite murky because a cheap laptop may well come in at a bit less than a tablet.

singularity87 said,
I think if anything it's the other way around. Tablets provide basic functionality whilst laptops and desktops are a "luxury" that provide more functionality.

Though it's quite murky because a cheap laptop may well come in at a bit less than a tablet.

I think other things also come into play, there's no need to replace a PC/Laptop as often as someone replaces a phone, and to a lesser extent a tablet. If you are one of those who paid $200 for some tablet then you're much more inclined to spend another $200 1-2 years later on a new version like people do with phones.

They don't share the same thinking about PCs and Laptops, also any of those that's even 5 years old can still run the newest stuff fine, unless you're a hardcore gamer and have to upgrade to keep up. That's an even smaller group though, niche market at this point.

yes that is part of the reason and the other part is that people simply do not need to upgrade there full systems as used to be the case, they will just buy memory or a hard drive or something like that until is is absolutely needed to buy a whole new system again, and another part of the reason is that oems are simply charging to much money for the same thing that really hasn't changed too much over the years, if they came out with something that was actually really good and at a decent price point would also make a very big difference.

There's plenty of laptops that has a decent touchscreen with Windows 8 that's not expensive. Tablets isn't a excuse for not getting a full hybrid computer.

sn0wbl1tz said,
There's plenty of laptops that has a decent touchscreen with Windows 8 that's not expensive. Tablets isn't a excuse for not getting a full hybrid computer.

For me, and I have used a Convertible Tablet PC, since 2002, what makes my device by far better and more versatile than a "regular" laptop is the handwriting capability. Touch is indeed a nice plus but if I had to choose between handwriting and touch I would choose the former without any hesitation

For the time being more Windows PCs are sold each quarter compared to Macs being sold in a year. MSFT have a long way to fall before their next biggest competitor even catches up. Seems that will be unlikely to happen anytime soon..

And no, iOS and Android are not in the race here as those are not a full fledged OS. Both are not much more than app launchers based on an OS kernel.

Got my popcorn, ready for the flame wars to begin.

I can see this quote coming from the Windows 8 fans:

"Windows 8 is a revolution, manufacturers just aren't making quality products to take advantage of the miraculous touch UI."

Windows 8 is a change in how people interact with computers. It will take time to get adjust like Windows 3.1 -> Windows 95. Once it's complete there's no point of going back.

There is a shortage of hardware outside the mobile space that is truly suited to Windows 8.

That said there is also a long way to go before the new UI in 8 offers anything like the functionality of the old one.

I blame it on Windows 8 in general, I have yet to have a client say oh hey I love Windows 8. Most of the clients I am coming across ask, how long can I hold onto my Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 box for? I do not want Windows 8. So this does not surprise me one bit that tablets in general or filling a void. I really see most tablets in general as a read only device. They will never replace a full computer any time soon though. I would never use a Surface Pro as a serious computer either, the screen is way too tiny, but it is an awesome tablet though.

Don't flame, it is just my 2 cents

Mikee4fun said,
I blame it on Windows 8 in general, I have yet to have a client say oh hey I love Windows 8. Most of the clients I am coming across ask, how long can I hold onto my Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 box for? I do not want Windows 8. So this does not surprise me one bit that tablets in general or filling a void. I really see most tablets in general as a read only device. They will never replace a full computer any time soon though. I would never use a Surface Pro as a serious computer either, the screen is way too tiny, but it is an awesome tablet though.

Don't flame, it is just my 2 cents

I agree with what you said but get your flame suit on because fire is coming. I know 4 folks in particular that will be coming with their usual torches.

The Gartner report however doesn't blame the decline on Windows 8:

“While Windows 8 has been blamed by some as the reason for the PC market's decline, we believe this is unfounded as it does not explain the sustained decline in PC shipments, nor does it explain Apple's market performance,” Ms. Kitagawa said.

The decline in Mac sales isn't explained by Windows 8.

Mikee4fun said,
I blame it on Windows 8 in general, I have yet to have a client say oh hey I love Windows 8. Most of the clients I am coming across ask, how long can I hold onto my Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 box for? I do not want Windows 8. So this does not surprise me one bit that tablets in general or filling a void. I really see most tablets in general as a read only device. They will never replace a full computer any time soon though. I would never use a Surface Pro as a serious computer either, the screen is way too tiny, but it is an awesome tablet though.

Don't flame, it is just my 2 cents

Do they also say "I've never actually used Windows 8, I just don't want it for no reason"?

I keep reading these comments on here about people who have clients who "don't want Windows 8". Just once I'd like to read one where someone has clients who have actually TRIED deploying Windows 8, and have had trouble with it.

I'm kind of sick of people buying in to the fearmongering.

Mikee4fun said
I blame it on Windows 8 in general
Well, remember that the iPad came out before Windows 8. When the popularity for the iPad rose, other companies decided to jump onboard and make their own tablets. Fast forward to today, and you'll see a lot of people either using an iPad or an Android tablet. For the record: I know a lot of people who simply don't need a desktop because everything they want to do can be accomplished on a tablet. I remember helping people with their desktops and laptops before the iPad came out, and most of the time, all they did was use it for browsing the internet, playing a few games, and managing their photos; all of which can easily be done on a tablet. So to say that an OS such as Windows 8 is causing a decline in PC sales would be pretty false, since it's been happening before. Maybe it's not helping PC sales, but to say that it's responsible for the decline is something that I definitely disagree about. Mainly because the popularity in tablets is winning more people over. PC's will be here forever, it's just that less people need it, since their tablets can get their jobs done.

Mikee4fun said
I have yet to have a client say oh hey I love Windows 8. Most of the clients I am coming across ask, how long can I hold onto my Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 box for?
Well what a coincidence, I'm seeing the exact opposite. I've had nothing but positive reviews from people that I've helped install Windows 8 on. It's a change, but you know what, so was Windows 95, but when you have someone sit down with you and guide you through the changes, you're experience with it improves a lot, because it's not so intimidating anymore. I've helped people get to know Windows 8, and when I see them, I ask them how their desktop/laptop is running, and they've told me that it's running great.

Mikee4fun said
I really see most tablets in general as a read only device. They will never replace a full computer any time soon though. I would never use a Surface Pro as a serious computer either, the screen is way too tiny, but it is an awesome tablet though.
I know some people who've actually scrapped their computers/laptops for tablets, but remember: not everybody needs something that's powerful. Some people just want to do some simple tasks like browsing the web, managing their, playing games, checking their emails, etc. All of which, can be done on a tablet. The Surface Pro does have a fairly small screen, but I think it's a great device since it doubles as a laptop and a tablet. The fact that it can be both, is great for those who are on the go and don't want to carry around a laptop and their tablet.

That is to be expected when a fad matures and finally dies. All the hoopla about how tablets with Windows-8 was going to be the next big thing in PC productivity turned out to be just that--hoopla. Admittedly, tablets are great for games--certainly much better than smartphones.

TsarNikky said
That is to be expected when a fad matures and finally dies. All the hoopla about how tablets with Windows-8 was going to be the next big thing in PC productivity turned out to be just that--hoopla. Admittedly, tablets are great for games--certainly much better than smartphones.
It's not too late though..

I don't agree. Tablets are just consumption device for light usage. I don't see any real benefits of having to own 2 separate devices when Surface Pro does everything I need.

sn0wbl1tz said
Tablets are just consumption device for light usage.
True, but remember. Not everybody needs something very powerful. I'll give an example: My mother still owns the first generation iPad. She doesn't need it to do fancy things. All she wants is her games, Facebook, iMessage and her photos, and she's as happy as a clam. Me on the other hand, I'm different. I don't want an iPad. For me, it's basic because it doesn't do all the things that I want it to do.

sn0wbl1tz said
I don't see any real benefits of having to own 2 separate devices when Surface Pro does everything I need.
True. But again, it comes down to the people's needs/wants. I know some people who own desktops for work, and a tablet for play. Some people don't need one device to do everything.

And technically, the Surface Pro is a hybrid. Part laptop, part tablet. Since it can do the things that a tablet can do + the things that a laptop can do.

Let's face it, there's a lot of people who don't need PC's or laptops. All the things they want/need to get done can be done in a tablet. PC's aren't going away, it's just that some people don't see the need for it. I've helped a lot of people use their computers, and most of them would probably be better off with a tablet because most of what they do is browsing the internet, managing photos, playing games - things like that.

Well nope. A real work is done on a real computer like Surface Pro for users who needs productivity instead of entertainment. Non Windows tablets doesn't cut it.

sn0wbl1tz said
real work is done on a real computer like Surface Pro for users who needs productivity instead of entertainment. Non Windows tablets doesn't cut it.
Well from that point of view, yes, I can agree because the other platforms (like you said) "don't cut it." But, there's a lot of people who've bought computers in the past, but never used them for intensive work. The majority of people I've helped in the past only used it for basic tasks. Tasks that can be acomplished on a tablet.

Wait, do they include Windows tablets in their PC shipment or not? I've never been able to clarify that.
What is their definition of a PC?

Personally, just like my desktop, I just don't feel the need to upgrade my laptop. It's an ancient Dell 1520, from 2007, or even 2006, but still does mostly everything I need a laptop to do. It'd be nice to have a super thin device of course, but the affordable laptops all have screens that even my ancient Dell bests.

Next year I might look at a Broadwell laptop (if Broadwell ships of course, as recent rumours suggest it might not), just for the battery life improvements. 2-3 hours is beginning to suck.

ZipZapRap said,
Wait, do they include Windows tablets in their PC shipment or not? I've never been able to clarify that.
What is their definition of a PC?

They definitely don't make it clear, but it looks like x86 Windows tablets are included while 'media' tablets (Android, iPad, Windows RT) are excluded

Windows tablets,hybrids,ultrabooks are NOT counted in PC sales. Don't be fooled into believing these numbers mean windows devices, but of course you can't expect wannabe journalists and trolls to know this. This only shows traditional desktop and traditional notebooks only. This data also shows why windows 8 exists. People want thin portable devices,and win8 is built for the future.

by the way,in the u.s the drop is less than 2% while mac is down nearly 5%

vcfan said,
Windows tablets,hybrids,ultrabooks are NOT counted in PC sales. Don't be fooled into believing these numbers mean windows devices, but of course you can't expect wannabe journalists and trolls to know this. This only shows traditional desktop and traditional notebooks only. This data also shows why windows 8 exists. People want thin portable devices,and win8 is built for the future.

by the way,in the u.s the drop is less than 2% while mac is down nearly 5%

If this is how it is then they should clearly say they mean traditional desktop and laptop PCs are down. But on the other hand, why not count x86 Windows 8 devices as a PC sale exactly? My Samsung Ativ Smart PC 500T is a x86 tablet/hybrid, once I dock it to it's kb it's basically a laptop.

So let me get this straight
There's a huge push to get tablets into the market.
People start buying into it.
Someone forgot there's only a finite amount of disposable income most homes have.
...And someone decided to blame the very tablets that were being pushed onto us for the reduction of pc sales??
<rhetorical question>

DaveBG said,
Yep, sure , it has nothing to do with Windows 8.... lol

It could very well be. Most people I know absolutely loathe Windows 8. they then go around telling other people they know how they feel about Windows 8, and more often than not, those people could also ride along that current of negativity.

Microsoft has its work cut out in selling Windows 8 to the people, and no matter how many billions they spend on advertisement, it's the word of mouth from people to people that'll reduce the effectiveness of Microsoft's advertisement campaign.

Another reason why Microsoft is transforming itself from a software company to a device and services. Better for the company in general and to the overall PC industry to evolve.