PCs experience longest sales decline in history

The fall of the PC continues, as tablets triumph.

The downfall of the PC continues.

The second quarter of 2013 saw worldwide shipments of PCs fall 11 percent to 76 million units, according to Gartner. It's the fifth straight quarter that PCs sales have declined, "the longest duration of decline in the PC market’s history."

The main culprit? You guessed it: the tablet.

“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 Mikako Kitagawa, an analyst at Gartner. “In emerging markets, inexpensive tablets have become the first computing device for many people, who at best are deferring the purchase of a PC. This is also accounting for the collapse of the mini notebook market.”

Topping the paltry PC market was Chinese tech company Lenovo, which took the top spot from HP. While the industry saw double digital sales decline, Lenovo's sales only dropped 0.6 percent. At the other end, Acer saw the worst growth numbers, falling more than 35 percent from 2Q 2012.

And it's not just desktop PCs that are causing the decline. As Quartz points out, laptop demand is also weak. Laptop shipments fell 6.9 percent between the first and second quarter of 2013, a sharp decline considering that growth during the same time period in 2010 was 41.7 percent.

Though there is one bright spot in the PC industry and that comes in the form of Google's low-cost Chromebook. The stripped-down laptop has found a niche in the PC market, at least in the United States, and in the past eight months it has already gained between 20 and 25 percent of the low-end laptop market in the U.S.

Read more: Gartner, Quartz, Bloomberg

Photo: Flickr/databhi

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