PC shipments decline ahead of Windows 8

Worldwide PC shipments totalled 87.5 million units in the third quarter of 2012, a decline of 8.3% compared with the third quarter of 2011, according to preliminary results by Gartner. EMEA PC shipments saw their biggest decline in over four years.

"A continuing slowdown in consumer PC shipments played a big part in the overall PC market decline," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "The third quarter was also a transitional quarter before Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system release, so shipments were less vigorous as vendors and their channel partners liquidated inventory.

"Retailers were conservative in placing orders as they responded to weak back-to-school sales. By the end of September, retailers were focused on clearing out inventory in advance of the Windows 8 launch later this month," Kitagawa said. "On the professional side, there was minimum impact from Windows 8 in the quarter because the professional market will not adopt Windows 8 PCs immediately after the release."

Lenovo took the No. 1 position in worldwide PC shipments for the first time in the company's history, as its share increased to 15.7%, while HP's global PC share was at 15.5%.

PC shipments in EMEA totalled 25.8 million units in the third quarter of 2012, a decline of 8.7% from the same quarter last year.

"After two consecutive quarters of growth, this quarter saw the worst decline in EMEA PC shipments over the past four years," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner. "The lack of appeal and innovation in PCs, combined with a challenging economic environment, led the consumer spend to move to other devices." In addition, any upturn from ultramobiles failed to materialise, because they are not competitively priced, and future products have been delayed until the fourth quarter of 2012 to align with Windows 8.

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