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PC hardware sales drop worldwide as tablets continue to rise, report finds

PC hardware sales have declined worldwide as consumers make the jump to tablets, a new research report has suggested.

A study by research firm Gartner finds that Q3 PC hardware sales have declined 8.6% year-on-year, with some 80.3 million PC rigs shipped globally. It's the lowest the figure has been since 2008. The figure takes into account units sold to schools, offices and for other business-related uses.

The paper also shows that iOS and Android tablet devices are rapidly gaining ground as the new hardware of choice for those studying and for general use.

In a statement, Gartner's Mikako Kitagawa said, "Consumers' shift from PCs to tablets for daily content consumption continued to decrease the installed base of PCs both in mature as well as in emerging markets. A greater availability of inexpensive Android tablets attracted first-time consumers in emerging markets, and as supplementary devices in mature markets."

Despite the continuing drop, Lenovo, HP and Dell all saw their sales increase in the quarter, with Lenovo still the number one seller worldwide.

Kitagawa continued, "The positive U.S. results could mean that seasonal strength and channel fill for new product launches in 3Q13 finally overcame the structural decline. Even though 3Q13 shipments were compared with artificially weak 2Q13 because of inventory control for the Windows 8 launch at the time, the 3Q13 results imply the U.S. market may have passed the worst declining stage, which started in 2010.

"The shrinking installed base of PCs has also passed the steepest decline phase because the structural change has progressed fairly quickly. Tablets will continue to impact the PC market, but the U.S. PC market will see a more moderate decrease rather than a steep decline in the next two years."

European, Middle Eastern and African markets saw a combined decrease in PC sales of 13.7%. it is believed that new processors and the impending launch of Windows 8.1 have contributed to this reluctance to buy new hardware.

Gartner's Isabelle Durand concluded, "During the third quarter many vendors went through product transitions to Intel's new Haswell and Bay Trail processors, while preparing for the October launch of Windows 8.. These product transitions and the clearing of old inventory that is taking place through the third and fourth quarters of 2013, have played a part in the slowdown of the PC market in EMEA. Many PC vendors also introduced Android tablets as a main part of their portfolios and this initiative drove PC sales downward."

What do you make of the figures above?


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