PC market flat in Q2: Tablets up; offset by desktop, notebook losses

PC market flat in Q2: Tablets up; offset by desktop, notebook losses

Summary: The figures suggest a gloomy desktop and notebook outlook for the December holiday quarter: tablets will outsell notebooks by the end of this year.

TOPICS: PCs, Tablets

The PC market remained flat in the second quarter, according to the estimates from research firm Canalys, which reported its latest figures on Tuesday.

Despite a 43 percent increase in tablet shipments, these gains are offset by poorly performing traditional desktops and notebook sales, which fell by more than 7 percent and 14 percent respectively.

So much so, the firm says, by the fourth quarter — where December holiday sales of electronics are typically higher — tablets will outsell notebooks, relegating the portable devices to a relic of the recent past.

Screen Shot 2013-08-06 at 18.04.43
(Image: Canalys)

The figures show that in the European, Middle Eastern and African markets, PC shipments fell by 3 percent year-over-year in the second quarter. Western Europe continues to pose difficulties for PC makers, which have seen annual declines of 10 percent in countries like the U.K., France, and Germany.

Meanwhile, the Asia Pacific region saw only a 0.5 percent decline, suggesting a healthier, albeit still troubled market. A slump in shipments in China saw the brunt of the region's troubles, which accounts for nearly half of the region's shipments. 

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Slower tablet market hints at fatigue, more traditional upgrade cycle

Slower tablet market hints at fatigue, more traditional upgrade cycle

The larger question here is whether developed markets will see tablet fatigue. Once everyone has a tablet -- and you can argue they do -- the upgrade cycle shifts.

A flat PC market quarter-over-quarter is of course better than a decline, at least for PC manufacturers, chip, component, and peripheral makers, considering the PC market has suffered considerably as of late as post-PC devices cannibalize traditional desktop and notebook sales. 

Apple remained the leader in the second quarter share tables with 18.6 million shipments, behind Lenovo in second place at 13 percent share with 14.1 million shipments, but this was due mostly in part to its strong iPad sales. 

Canalys defines a PC as a desktop machine, a notebook, or a tablet, including Android devices and iPads. This naturally skews the outcome of the figures compared to other research firms, where many delineate between post-PC devices, such as tablets, and traditional keyboard-based devices.

Apple's divisional breakdown shows its desktop and notebook shipments accounted for 20 percent of its total shipments. Both iPads and Macs were down from the second to the third quarter, according to Apple's latest quarterly earnings reported in July.

While this alone isn't unusual for the mid-year months which often lead to slower sales, Canalys said: "With tablet vendors attacking Apple on price it must bring fresh innovation to future generations of its iPad range if it is to maintain the lead it has built in the PC market."

Lenovo as the second front-runner in the PC space, which last October finally took the crown from HP in the strictly PC-only space, is faring well. It saw a strong annual growth of 34 percent in the European, Middle Eastern and African markets, a 28 percent increase in the U.S. market, and 93 percent in Latin America. 

"Lenovo is on an upward curve with its tablets, expanding in mainland China and Latin America, where there is little competition from the likes of Google or Amazon," said Canalys analyst James Wang in prepared remarks.

Further in, HP in third place dipped in tablet sales, as did Dell in fifth place. Only Samsung in fourth place managed to show a decent amount of growth year over year, growing by more than 100 percent, from 4.8 percent market share in the second quarter of 2012 to 9.9 percent share in the same quarter a year later.

On Monday, IDC's latest research showed that even the tablet market is beginning to slow, suggesting the market was showing symptoms of tablet fatigue. ZDNet's Larry Dignan has more on this

Topics: PCs, Tablets

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  • The PC market is too saturated.

    You won't see the PC market improve from this point out. The PC is a done deal. There just aren't people around anymore too interested in being stuck behind a desk these days, when you have laptops, ultra books, and Surface tablets to take out to the park and get your work done.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • " laptops, ultra books, and Surface tablets"...

      ...are all members of that falling PC family he's talking about. Apparently, tablets are too...

      "Canalys defines a PC as a desktop machine, a notebook, or a tablet, including Android devices and iPads."

      So it seems the entire electronics market is in the toilet, no need to bother about which form factor is swirling the fastest.
      • Re: So it seems the entire electronics market is in the toilet

        Smartphones are still growing like crazy, and tablets (apart from Apple) have only shown a quarterly, not a year-on-year, decline.
      • 2-in-1

        Still waiting for the promised Haswell 2-in-1 models. Since working third generation 2-in-1's exist, I don't see any reason for vendors to wait with the release of 4th generation 2-in-1's except for Intel and Microsoft preparing a coordinated launch with Windows 8.1. Maybe the 4.5W SDP chip will be ready by then too. I'd be willing to shell out 1.5k for a fanless 2-in-1 that is well built and able to drive external 4k screens without framedrop.
        • 2-in-1

          When I say 2-in-1 I mean detachables. Somehow I can't get used to the other hybrids.
  • Affordable Intel's Bay Trail based Mini Ultrabooks with Windows 8.1 SUPPORT

    will change that in 4th Qtr also due to bundled MS Office and discounted Windows 8.1 license for small screens devices

    the drop in PC mainly for the fading of the NETBOOK category that will be replaced by Mini Ultrabooks
    • Re: also due to bundled MS Office

      That didn't help with Surface RT, why should it make a difference to these even more overpriced products?
      • Why?

        - Better consumer education due to increasing adoption of Windows 8 (6.8% Win8. 7.4% all versions of OSX, according to statcounter).
        - Far better stocked App store than a year ago.
        - UI improvements in Windows 8.1.
        - Less uncertainty regarding the future of Metro (it's there to stay).
        - Better enterprise adoption with what's essentially Windows 8 SP1.
        - Haswell covering the high end better.

        I probably forgot a few points that someone else will point out soon.
        • Re: due to increasing adoption of Windows 8

          Which isn't happening.
  • Why real question here is.

    What happen to Samsung? Looks like they fell flat on their face in the pc market.
    Sam Wagner
    • Nevermind

      I read the dates wrong.
      Sam Wagner
  • Tablets

    SSSSHHHH! Don't tell the MS shills! Tablets are a fad and a toy and no one wants them!!

  • Nice spin

    Yesterday, there was a report that notebook shipments dropped 18% in July.

    By clubbing tablets together with traditional PCs, you are putting a spin on the real ugly picture of traditional PCs sales falling sharply, continuing the trend.
    • link to notebook sales in July 2013

    • half a story

      Actually there are various reports stating that tablets fell 10% in Q2, quarter on quarter. The above article is about year on year. I still don't know if it's ok to post liks here that's why i refer to google "2013 Q2 tablet market share".