Windows 8 fails to stem PC decline

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Windows 8 fails to stem PC decline

Cliff Saran

Worldwide PC spending dropped 6.4% with Windows 8 adding confusion rather than driving adoption, according to analyst IDC.

Although the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2012 saw the beginning of a new stage in the PC industry with the launch of Windows 8, its impact did not quickly change recently sluggish PC demand, and the PC market continued to take a back seat to competing devices and sustained economic woes, IDC said.

Jay Chou, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, said: "Lost in the shuffle to promote a touch-centric PC, suppliers have not forcefully stressed other features that promote a more secure, reliable and efficient user experience. 

As Windows 8 matures, and other corresponding variables such as Ultrabook pricing continue to drop, hopefully the PC market can see a reset in both messaging and demand in 2013."

In Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), IDC said the PC market performed in line with expectations in Q4. Shipments declining at a mid single-digit rate from a year ago. 

Although sell-in of Windows 8 systems accelerated by early December, helped by the new Ultra Slim offerings, consumers continued to shun PC purchases in favour of attractively priced tablets and smartphones, particularly during the end-of-year Christmas season. Commercial purchases also remained weak, softened by persisting uncertainty in the economic situation across the region.

Looking at market share, Acer’s share fell the most with a 28.2% drop compared with the same period last year, Dell fell 20.8% while HP fell 0.6%. Lenovo grew 8.2%, making it the second-largest PC supplier, behind HP, which retained the number one position. Dell was third and Acer was fourth.

Top five suppliers, worldwide PC shipments, fourth quarter 2012 (preliminary) (units shipments are in thousands) 

Supplier

Q4 2012 

Shipments

Q4 2012 Market 

Share

Q4 2012/Q4 2011 

Growth

HP

15,023

16.7%

-0.6%

Lenovo

14,105

15.7%

8.2%

Dell

9,482

10.6%

-20.8%

Acer Group

6,959

7.8%

-28.2%

ASUS

6,467

7.2%

5.6%

Source: IDC

According to analyst Canalys, combined shipments of desktops, netbooks and notebooks showed a year-on-year decline of around 10% in Q4 of 2012, as consumers bought Android tablets and iPads over Wintel-based PCs. Microsoft and Intel will suffer further, with the Wintel PC market share expected to decline from 72% in 2012 to 65% in 2013, the analyst predicted.

The analyst noted that the choice of PCs form-factors is greater than ever. Businesses also need to factor-in the additional cost of a touchscreen to get the most out of Window 8.

Canalys analyst Tim Coulling, said: “Buyers must decide between an Ultrabook and a standard notebook, a touchscreen and a non-touchscreen, as well as an increasing array of form-factors, such as clamshell, convertible and hybrid. This added complexity will make purchases more considered and lengthen the sales process.”


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