Squeezed out by cheap Android tablets and Apple's iPad, PC sales continue to plummet

Squeezed out by cheap Android tablets and Apple's iPad, PC sales continue to plummet

Summary: How low can they go? PC shipments continue to slide as hardware companies still grapple with the rise of tablets.


The PC market continues its downward spiral as hardware companies fail to come up with a compelling alternative to Android tablets and Apple's iPad.

PC shipments in Western Europe totalled 11.9 million units in the third quarter of 2013, a decline of 12.8 percent from the same period in 2012, according to calculations by Gartner. Back in the third quarter of 2009, PC shipments stood at 16.7 million units.

"The PC market in Western Europe continued to shrink, declining faster than expected," Meike Escherich, principal research analyst at Gartner, said in a statement.

How tech's giants lost the tablet and smartphone war, even if they don't know it yet

How tech's giants lost the tablet and smartphone war, even if they don't know it yet

How tech's giants lost the tablet and smartphone war, even if they don't know it yet

The market has now fallen so far that Apple — once considered to be high-end niche player — is now among the top five PC vendors in Europe, according to the analysts firm's numbers.

Gartner said the transition from PCs to tablets continued to reduce PC sales, while some consumers would have been waiting for hardware featuring Haswell and Bay Trail processors, and may have delayed purchases to subequent purchases.

All types of PCs measured by Gartner declined: mobile and desktop PC shipments declined by 14.5 percent and 9.8 percent year-on-year, respectively. PC shipments to business fell by 8.3 percent, while the consumer PC market dropped by 17.1 percent.

Gartner's data covers desk-based PCs, mobile PCs and x86 tablets equipped with Windows 8 but excludes other tablets and Chromebooks.

Across Western Europe HP remained the number one PC vendor by shipments, while Lenovo moved up to number two, its double-digit growth in the third quarter driven by strong sales of mobile PCs in the consumer and small and mid-size business segments, at the expense of Acer and Samsung. Acer suffered a double-digit shipment decline as a result of the continued shift from consumer PCs to tablets and hybrid form factors.

Escherich said PC manufacturers are shifting their investment from consumer PCs to tablets and hybrid form factors — but face the bind of having to protect their current PC market positions while competing in an aggressive and lower cost new market.

"Without a solid position in the professional PC market, they will find it challenging to defend their positions and invest in non-PC devices," she said.

And while new hybrid PC and tablet might get consumers buying again, spending is likely to be limited as these devices will be competing against cheap Android tablets.

Western Europe: PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 3Q13 (Thousands of Units)

Vendor 3Q 2013 shipments 3Q 2013 market share 3Q12 shipments 3Q12 market share Growth
HP 2,618























Apple 996

















Source: Gartner, November 2013

Decline in PC shipment was greater in the UK than in France and Germany: PC shipments in the UK reached 2.3 million units in the third quarter of 2013, a decrease of 21.2 per cent from the same period in 2012.

The UK PC market has now declined for 11 out of the past 12 quarters. While the top five vendors' shipments in the UK declined by 3.5 percent, the other PC vendors' shipments declined by more than 40 percent.

The consumer PC market in the UK fell by 13.6 percent, while the professional PC market declined by 28.1 percent. The mobile PC market accounted for 62 per cent of total PC shipments in the UK, with volumes decreasing by 23.7 percent year-on-year. Desktop PC shipments declined by 16.9 per cent.

Further reading

Topics: PCs, Consumerization, Hardware, Tablets, EU, United Kingdom, Tech Industry, Windows 8

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  • The antivirus makers must be worried

    less and less Windows machines means an increasingly shrinking market.
    • Why? Seems Andoid is filling the need for AV

      quite nicely.
      • to a certain extent but

        it will never be like the golden days, when every Windows machine, meaning every machine sold, MUST had/have an antivirus installed in order to operate.
        • There is no such thing as a secure computer

          No computer is 100% safe and anyone not running antivirus is being niave in thinking they are safe.

          It is the same as not running backup software, because you think your computing device is so great it will never crash.

          Mobile apps have changed how malware works. Malware creators don't need to find creative ways to infect phones and tablets, because users are more than willing to download apps that steal all their information. Who needs to write a virus anymore when Apple and Google have gotten into bed with those developers and they both make money off it.
          • OpenBSD

            I guess you never head of OpenBSD. It's not the computer that's vulnerable (PC), it's the operating system (Windows).
          • davidr69: "OpenBSD"

            The code auditing achieved by the OpenBSD project has achieved amazing results for the open source OS as evidenced by the very small number of vulnerabilities.

            However, a desktop user will install X.org, a desktop environment (or window manager), a web browser (usually Mozilla Firefox or Chromium), an email client like Mozilla Thunderbird, OpenJDK, etc. Sadly, this list of software does not undergo the same scrutiny from a code auditing perspective as does OpenBSD. And, remember, that root is not necessary if all a miscreant wants to do is steal your data. Your non-root account will do just fine.

            If all one uses their OpenBSD box for is a file server via sshd, then you do have a reasonable point. That said, OpenBSD is much safer than GNU/Linux, OS X and Windows. Due both to its code auditing and its very, very low market share.
            Rabid Howler Monkey
          • So you're saying if someone writes a program for Linux or OpenBSD

            that would delete all open doc files if executed, that excuting the program would not delete those files?

            Then what good is the OS if it can't execute (run) a program?
          • Viruses, Worms

            Viruses are programs that install and execute without the users knowledge or permission. Windows worms are automated network viruses. Viruses are a Windows speciality, and that is what distinguishes Windows from Android, where the owner has to knowingly install malware and run it. People do that because people install apps from untrustable sources which do bad things that people do not realise they do. This is easy to avoid if you install from trusted sources like the official Android app store, or Amazon store.
          • @davidr69

            Safer does not mean invulnerable. There is no such thing as a safe computer.

            People are getting to the point where they actually believe their computers cannot be compromised and they don't need even the basic levels of defenses.

            People are pointing to ignorance of problems as proof that they are safe. Just look how many people repeat "I've never had a virus on my phone so its safe", but I bet every single one of them has at least one app that is secretly collecting their personal information and sending it off somewhere. Software that if it was running on a PC would be classified as malware and be removed.

            I bet none of them know that almost every Android device in existance has the master key vulnerability and it will never be patched, or that iOS7 patched over 80 vulnerabilities that are left wide open on earlier versions of iOS.

            Computers are run by software which is made by people and people make mistakes... many mistakes. There is no such thing as safe.

            Ask the NSA if you think differently.
          • true, and furthermore

            1) There is no such thing as a secure windows PC (follows from your statement)

            2) There is nothing LESS secure than a windows PC, based on data over the last 20 years and my experience in the IT industry for longer than that.

            P.S. windows PC/computers include tablets, phones and any other devices running ANY form of windows of any version.
          • And anyone running an anti-virus is deluded that it can save them.

            An anti-virus can only prevent something once it has been seen. Unknown malware can still get through...

            And Android hasn't got a virus. Trojans, yes. But as always, trojans require the user to give them permission to run...

            A lot like the Amish virus (aka Honor virus)...
          • virus?

            Actually, there are some approaches to detect a new virus, as they do certain things that can be detected as they attempt to run, before they get installed, and can be stopped. Most good AV programs have this covered.
            Not perfect, of course, but definitely usable.
          • As I said. deluded.

            It is mathematically impossible to catch them all.

            And there is very little difference between a valid application patching binaries and a virus doing the same thing. You have to previously KNOW it is either valid or invalid. And until you see it, analyze it, trace it, you can't tell.

            Now if you have a policy control that says there shall be no such utility, that makes it a little bit easier.
          • It's better than not having av.

            It's not a 100% solution, but every little thing helps.
            Sam Wagner
        • @theo_durcan, Windows does not need antivirus software to operate

          There are plenty of better ways to secure Windows than antivirus software:

          o standard user account
          o software restriction policy via gpedit.msc or Parental Controls
          o Microsoft's free EMET software
          o ...
          Rabid Howler Monkey
          • Exactly. Theo is still living in the 90's.

            I haven't had a single malware infection since Windows 3.1. None of the computers I manage have had an infection, either. When you see a headline that 100k Windows computers were infected with Blah_Blah.trojan, it's usually idiots still using Windows XP and clicking on everything people send them. It's also 100k out of an installed base of over 1 billion. That's an infection rate of less than 0.01%. This means that even 99%+ of XP machines weren't infected. It boggles my mind that the truly ignorant still believe that Windows is prone to infection.

            That said, there is no such thing as a 100% secure computer. Even Linux has documented kernel exploits which have existed since the very beginning. But Windows is as close to secure as anything else out there. For those still living in the 90's, feel free to move into the 21st century any time now.
          • ASLR and DEP

            Regardless of how securely configured the OS might be, you are only as safe as the software you run. Software that contains an unchecked buffer can still lead to a compromised system.

            A simple buffer overflow can deliver malware and cause it to be executed. DEP protects against simple schemes by preventing such exploits from executing. If DEP is present, return-based attacks can be highly successful without ASLR. Even with ASLR, it's still possible to determine where a core API is located. Even if the current logon isn't running with root authority, these attacks can still be successful with a staged attack. That is, first gain execution control in the context of the current user and then try to exploit known privilege escalation vulnerabilities. If successful, it's entirely possible to compromise any OS by simply loading software that has an unchecked buffer.
          • except that your policies don't protect the user

            from an Office base virus...

            Inherently insecure.
          • jessepollard: "Office base[d] virus..."

            Depends on both the version of Windows and Microsoft Office, assuming that the user has Microsoft Office installed. Starting with Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2010, sandboxing via Windows Integrity Levels in Office Protected View would very likely successfully contain the virus.

            And, in my case, a document attached to email or downloaded from a web site on the Internet would be opened either with Abiword/Gnumeric/TonicPoint Viewer or OpenOffice. Thus, no prize. :)

            Just curious, jessepollard, are you aware of any GNU/Linux distro that applies either a SELinux policy or AppArmor profile, by default, to LibreOffice? Ditto for a FreeBSD jail.
            Rabid Howler Monkey
          • only in that they inherit the priviliges/restrictions applied to the user

            They automatically cannot affect system files (both by DAC and SELinux).