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PC shipments show longest period of decline

PC sales have declined for the fifth quarter in a row, marking it the “longest duration of decline” in the device’s history.

According to research firm, Gartner, worldwide PC shipments dropped to 76 million units in the second quarter of 2013, the fifth consecutive quarter decline.

PC sales in Q2 2013 were down 10.9 per cent from the same period in 2012.

Gartner analysts suggest that the rapidly increasing availability of low-cost tablets has had a direct result on PC sales across the globe.

We are seeing the PC market reduction directly tied to the shrinking installed base of PCs, as inexpensive tablets displace the low-end machines used primarily for consumption in mature and developed markets,” said principal analyst at Gartner, Mikako Kitagawa.

In emerging markets especially, consumers have been opting to buy tablets instead of PCs as their first computing device.

“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,” added Kitagawa.

Another research firm, IDC, also noticed the same trend in PC sales, showing an 11.4 per cent decline worldwide from the figures recorded the same time last year.

IDC said shipments for Q2 2013 were at 75.6 million units as it uses a different method to calculate sales data. It did predict that sales could be on the rise, as the figures were not as low as expected.

“With second quarter growth so close to forecast, we are still looking for some improvement in growth during the second half of the year,” said IDC Worldwide PC Tracker senior analyst, Jay Chou.

However, the overall feeling is that the PC sector has a lot of ground to make up in order to turn around the long decline.

“The PC era was over some time ago. We are just seeing it become starkly evident now,” explained Victor Basta, MD of M&A advisory firm Magister Advisors. “We track tech investment activity closely and more money has been going into internet opportunities than software and hardware combined in the last 18 months, in anticipation of this trend.”

Next, read our pick of the best Windows 8 laptops, tablets, convertibles and PCs.