The International Data Corporation (IDC) has released its Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker results for 1Q13, reporting that worldwide PC shipments during that quarter totaled a mere 76.3 million units. While that sounds like a lot to sell within a three-month span, the number actually dropped 13.9 percent compared to the same quarter in 2012. IDC said that was the worst quarter it has ever seen since it began tracking the PC market quarterly in 1994.
The slump in sales is a multi-pronged problem. Fading netbook shipments are hurting the low-end market while tablets and smartphones continue to divert consumer spending. Meanwhile, attempts to sell ultra-slim notebooks and touch-based solutions have been hampered by their end-price and component supply. A weak reception to Windows 8 is also to blame, and may have even slowed the market altogether.
"The PC industry is struggling to identify innovations that differentiate PCs from other products and inspire consumers to buy, and instead is meeting significant resistance to changes perceived as cumbersome or costly," the company said.
Bob O'Donnell, IDC Program Vice President, Clients and Displays, said that the radical changes to the UI in Windows 8, the platform's removal of the familiar Start button, and the costs associated with touch have made PCs a less attractive alternative to dedicated tablets and other competitive devices. In order to reinvigorate the PC market, Microsoft will need to make some "very tough decisions moving forward."
The IDC also points to the restructuring and reorganizing efforts impacting HP and Dell, two of the nation's largest PC makers, as additional reasons behind the slump. Lenovo remains a notable exception, but mid- and bottom-tier vendors are struggling to identify growth markets within the U.S.
According to a chart provided by the IDC, HP commanded 15.7 percent of the worldwide PC market in 1Q13, followed by Lenovo with a close 15.3 percent. Dell fell into third place with an 11.8 percent share followed by Acer (8.1 percent) and Asus (5.7 percent). When compared to the same quarter in 2012, HP dropped 23.7 percent while Lenovo stayed level. Dell dropped 10.9 percent, Acer dropped 31.3 percent, and Asus dropped 19.2 percent.
"The U.S. market had another dismal quarter in 1Q13, contracting -12.7 percent year on year, with a drop of -18.3 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2012," the company said. "With total volume falling to 14.2 million, quarterly shipments reached their lowest level since the first quarter of 2006. With this latest figure, the U.S. is now in its tenth consecutive quarter of year-on-year contraction (excluding a brief moment of growth – less than 2 percent year on year – in 3Q11)."
To read the full depressing report, head here.