Emerging Technology

More bad news for Microsoft as PC shipments dive for the sixth consecutive quarter

Andrew Sadauskas /

More bad news for Microsoft, with new figures showing global PC shipments fell by 8.6% during the third quarter of 2013, marking the sixth consecutive quarter of falls, according to new figures from Gartner.

The news is made worse by the fact the third quarter is often called the “back to school” quarter for US PC sales, with sales historically buoyed by parents in the US upgrading computers at the start of the new school year.

However, in 2013 the “back to school” quarter turned into a blood bath for the PC industry, with sales diving 8.6% year-on-year from 87.8 million units in the third quarter of 2012 to 80.2 million in the third quarter of 2013.

The biggest losses were at Acer Group, where sales fell 22.6% from 8.6 million units a year ago to just 6.6 million during the quarter in 2013.

Asus suffered a similar fall, dropping 22.5%, while independent PC makers weren’t spared either, with their sales crunched by 13.3%.

However, in a rare respite for the industry’s three largest vendors managed to stave off any significant falls during the quarter, and even pick up marketshare.

Lenovo’s marketshare grew from 15.7% to 17.6%, with its quarterly shipments growing to 14.1 million units from 13.7 million a year earlier.

Meanwhile, despite small gains in unit numbers, HP and Dell saw their marketshare jump to 17.1% (from 15.4% a year earlier) and 11.6% (from 10.5%), respectively.

The other bright spot was a slight growth rate in the US of 3.5%, marking the second quarter of growth after six consecutive quarters of falls, which contributed to HP, Dell and Lenovo’s strong result.

“The positive U.S. results could mean that seasonal strength and channel fill for new product launches in 3Q13 finally overcame the structural decline.” Gartner principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa says.

“Even though 3Q13 shipments were compared with artificially weak 2Q13 because of inventory control for the Windows 8 launch at the time, the 3Q13 results imply the U.S. market may have passed the worst declining stage, which started in 2010.”

HP holds 26.9% marketshare in the US, followed by Dell (21%), Apple (13.4%), Lenovo (10.5%) and Toshiba (7%), with others contributing 21.3% of the market.

Overall, the US represents 16.1 million of the 80.2 million computers shipped worldwide.

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Andrew Sadauskas

Andrew Sadauskas is a former journalist at SmartCompany and a former editor of TechCompany.

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