What a surprise! 2013 was a lousy year for PC sales

What a surprise! 2013 was a lousy year for PC sales

Summary: IDC's worldwide PC shipment numbers are in and the best you can say about them is that they weren't as bad as they could have been.


According to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, Global PC shipments totaled 82.2 million units in the fourth quarter of 2013. That meant that for the year-to-year quarter comparison there was a contraction of 5.6 percent. Look at this way: It could have been worse. IDC had predicted 6.0 percent decline.

IDC PC Shipments 4th QTR 2013
IDC showed that 2013 was indeed a bad, bad year for PC sales.

For the full year 2013, unit shipments declined 10.0 percent from 2012, a record drop reflecting the changes in mobility and personal computing affecting the market. In December, IDC has predicted 2013 would see the "most severe yearly contraction on record" for the PC market. They were right.

The only 'bright' sport was that commercial purchases helped to prevent a larger decline. The consumer market remained weak.

Gartner's analysts, while labeling, "2013 as "the worst decline in PC market history," have hopes for 2014. Gartner principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa reported that "markets, such as the U.S., have bottomed out as the adjustment to the installed base slows." IDC also sees some hopes for if, not a recovery, at least a slowdown in the PC sales growth rate declines.

"The PC market again came in very close to expectations, but unfortunately failed to significantly change the trajectory of growth," said Loren Loverde, IDC's Worldwide PC Trackers VP, in a statement. "Total shipments have now declined for seven consecutive quarters, and even the holiday shopping season was unable to inspire a turn in consumer spending. Although US growth slipped a little in the fourth quarter, other regions all improved, reinforcing our view that growth rates will continue to improve gradually during 2014 despite remaining in negative territory."

HP had an especially bad year. "In the United States, market leader HP had a difficult quarter, contracting 12.3 percent year on year as the market slowed following an HP surge in the third quarter. However, Asian majors like Lenovo and Samsung achieved strong double-digit growth, driven partly by a modest commercial uptick and partly due to retail acceptance of their emerging product categories, such as Chromebooks. Dell and Toshiba also managed mid single-digit growth, essentially coming from large corporate refreshes in the enterprise segment," said Rajani Singh, Senior Research Analyst, Personal Computing. "Nevertheless, despite a dip in total shipments, the U.S. market outperformed most other regions and the worldwide market as a whole for the fifth consecutive quarter, reflecting a relative degree of stabilization."

In the US, with shipments totaling 17.1 million PCs in 4Q 2013, the U.S. market contracted by 1.6 percent from the same quarter a year ago. Consumers continued to take a wait-and-see approach, leading to delayed purchases to Windows 8.x. The migration from XP to Windows 7 and 8 continued to drive some momentum in the enterprise sector. Consumers remain reluctant to commit to Windows upgrades.

The EMEA market also had a lousy 2013's fourth quarter. As expected, demand in the commercial segment was supported by year-end budget spending, with XP end of support deals contributing to even stronger shipments in the last three months of the year. As anticipated, the consumer market remained much more depressed, with shipments remaining soft amid ongoing weakness in demand, as tablets continued to attract end users.

The only computer OEM with anything to break out the champagne for was Lenovo. Lenovo expanded its lead in total worldwide shipments with particularly strong growth in EMEA, Japan, and Latin America. The firm has continued to stay aggressive with its breadth of products, flexibility, and focus on channel development. Growth in the U.S. slowed, but remained ahead of other market leaders.

Dell, the number three PC OEM, also did relatively well. The newly private company saw growth rise to 5.8 percent in 4Q 2013 compared to the previous year. The Americas continued to be a strong area for Dell, while shipments in Asia/Pacific also returned to positive growth.

HP kept the second spot, but its shipments in the US dropped by more than 12 percent year on year. Fourth quarter shipments were also down slightly from the third quarter, suggesting a clearing of inventory as well as slowing projects in Asia/Pacific.

In such a weak market, and with Windows 8.x still proving unpopular, it's no surprise that the PC OEMs are not only embracing Chromebooks, but HP and Lenovo are giving Android PCs a try and AMD and Intel are pushing hybrid Android-Windows 8 systems.. Unlike in years past, the PC makers can't simply rely on new Windows updates to bring customers in. It's time to try radical changes to gain sales, and that's exactly what they're doing.

Related Stories:

Topics: Hardware, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, PCs

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  • What a surprise! 2013 was a lousy year for PC sales

    What a surprise! SJVN thinks android is going to save the world. You had me up until your last paragraph then you started spreading your FUD.

    "Unlike in years past, the PC makers can't simply rely on new Windows updates to bring customers in. It's time to try radical changes to gain sales, and that's exactly what they're doing."

    Sure they can. They just need to pretty up the hardware. That is why Microsoft started selling their own hardware so they can show off everything Microsoft Windows 8 can do. I can't wait to see android fail on the desktop when the general public turns their noses up on it just like they did to the chromebook. I bet we won't hear a peep out of you.
    • Showing what windows 8 can do...

      Microsoft has shown what Win 8 can do: it can frustrate, anger and cause people to retain a computer they would have normally upgraded, or drive them into the Mac camp.
      • Right, which is why Mac sales have declined

        and Linux has stagnated, because people are moving to those platforms in droves.
        • We must be reading different news sources...

          "U.S. Mac sales spiked 28.5 percent year over year in the just-concluded fourth quarter of calendar 2013, according to the latest figures from Gartner, giving Apple a 13.7 percent share of its home market while the rest of the industry continues to struggle."
          • Mac sales overall are down

            I think it is down even more than the average of the whole PC market.

            Macs in the US might be doing better though, but worldwide have been down the last several quarters step in step with overall decline of the PC market.
          • That remains to be seen.

            I don't think Mac numbers are up as high as Gartner, but I'd be very surprised if Mac sales are actually down. We'll see two weeks from Monday.
          • New study: "Ubuntu 12.04 Is More Secure Than Windows 8 and Mac OS X"

            "Ubuntu 12.04 Is More Secure Than Windows 8 and Mac OS X, Says UK Goverment"


            " The Communications-Electronics Security Group (CESG) is the UK National Technical Authority for information assurance and they've done a series of tests to find out what is the most secure operating system available for the governmental apparatus.

            The security assessment made by CESG included the following categories: VPN, Disk Encryption, Authentication, Secure Boot, Platform Integrity and Application Sandboxing, Application Whitelisting, Malicious Code Detection and Prevention, Security Policy Enforcement, External Interface Protection, Device Update Policy, Event Collection for Enterprise Analysis, and Incident Response.

            Ubuntu 12.04 (Precise Pangolin) is the operating system that passed most of the tests, way ahead of Windows 8 or Mac OS X.

            “All in all Ubuntu 12.04 LTS stacks up as the most secure of the current desktop and mobile operating systems. Supported by Canonical with free security updates for 5 years, and without malware problems, it’s hard to beat in official public sector applications. “

            “We are working hard to close the gap and make Ubuntu clearly stand out as the most trustworthy operating system for the future and we hope to make excellent progress before our next LTS release in April 2014, 14.04 LTS, which will be even better," said Darryl Weaver, Canonical Sale Engineer. "
          • Perhaps iHype is ...

            ... dead?
          • In the interest of fairness.

            IDC has Mac sales down 5.8%. Gartner and IDC have differed in their Mac estimates before, though not to so great an extent, and when Apple reported actual sales (it's worth noting that both IDC and Gartner are counting SHIPMENTS) they were about midway between the two estimates. If we do the same with the current numbers we get Apple increasing Mac sales by 11.4%, which is still higher than 2nd place Lenovo, at 10.8% growth.

            Apple reports its Q1FY2014 (Q4CY2013) results on the 27th. It will be interesting to see what who's right and who's being laughed at.
        • Re: Mac sales....

          Quite the contrary a friend who works for a major retail computer outlet here in the UK revealed that iMac sales had increased across its network of stores.
        • Bill, are you still having trouble with that darn reality thing?

          We hurt for you, go back to your fantasy land
        • Linux has 61% of markets of new devices...

          ... while Apple and Microsoft much less than 20% each.

          2014 Linux is even more stronger. Linux/FLOSS will mop the battleground and run M$ and Apple in serious trouble.
          • Re: Linux has 61% of markets of new devices...

            You seriously need to get your head out of cuckoo land.

            Incidentally if your 61% reference relates to Android for your information its not pure Linux.

            Android is to Linux as OS X is to UNIX. Pretty damn far.
          • Re: Linux has 61% of markets of new devices...

            Re "Android is to Linux as OS X is to UNIX. Pretty damn far."

            Actually, OS X is a certified UNIX:

            And Android uses Linux kernel 3.10:
      • Blame people like me - we have done it

        Having computer bought in 2005, Windows XP kicked out in late 2007 (total crap) and then Linux distributions installed on it, i'm one of those "terrorists" damaging free markets and share holder values.

        And you know what - i may keep this great old war horse still several years. Let's see how thinclients are coming better and better, cheaper and cheaper. Plus let's see how world is liberated from Redmond Gulag.
        • I think you are close to the real point

          Not your spewing hatred for Microsoft, but in general people are not ugrading PCs, because there really isn't a need too.

          That money is going towards new mobile devices that can augment users capabilities. Those too will hit the point where they become commodities as people look at their current tablets in the same way they do their PCs, no real need to upgrade them.

          If your current laptop is running fine, there really isn't much need to upgrade.
        • Family - 6 years ago and now

          6 years ago: 1 desktop + 3 laptops
          Now: 1 desktop (or laptop) + 4 smartphones + 3 (or 4) tablets.

          Perhaps everybody should understand why PC is lying on ropes badly beaten and young generation are using mobiles. That's the truth and men in corporates have finally realized.

          My youger daughter has both laptop and tablet but she hasn't used her laptop since last summer. She doesn't need it.
          • My younger daughter only uses her tablet as well...

            ..she's also six years old and Netflix and talking pets are all the rage. A little context goes a long way - in this world, that context is still individual use-cases.

            Many "younger daughters'" use-cases for computing devices involve watching Netflix, posting on social media, and sending nudie photos to their boyfriends via Snapchat - I would agree that tablets fit this bill quite well, especially if it means keeping their device close to their chest and away from your prying eyes.
          • My younger daughter

            You've never had a daughter have you? You wouldn't speak like that if you had, I suspect you've never been married before either or even had a girlfriend but I suppose it's lucky for the human race that you'll never pass your genes on.
    • Agreed. Sadly while OEM's are "embracing" Chromebooks

      the general public isn't. What good is HP making Android or Chromebooks if they don't move off the shelves?

      And yet the one thing SJVN didn't talk about was the high amount of PC OEM's that have dumped Windows 8 altogether and are going Android/Chromebooks exclusively.

      Seriously, there has to be a few that have done that already, right?

      Er, Steven........?