Despite Windows XP shutdown, PC sales decline for the eighth consecutive quarter

Despite businesses and consumers upgrading from Windows XP as it reached the end of its product life, worldwide PC shipments have recorded their eighth consecutive quarter of falls during the first quarter of 2014.

The decline is confirmed by two separate reports, published by rival market analysis firms IDC and Gartner.

According to IDC, the PC industry recorded a 4.4% year-on-year slump during the quarter, with at just 73.4 million units, down from 76.7 million units for the same quarter last year.

The news was not all bad, with year-on-year growth recorded at market leaders Lenovo (10.5%), HP (4.7%) and Dell (9.3%).

Each of the three market leaders also picked up market share, with Lenovo growing from 15.4% to 17.7%, HP increasing from 15.6% to 17.1% and Dell going from 11.7% to 13.4%.

However, the tale was far less rosy for embattled PC maker Acer, which saw its shipments collapse by 20.2% year-on-year from 6.2 million to 4.9 million units, with Asus (8.1%) and independent POC makers (13.1%) also witnessing slumps.

IDC Worldwide PC trackers vice president Loren Loverde says the decliens are slightly better than a projected drop of 5.3%.

“Worldwide PC shipments have now declined for eight consecutive quarters as a result of shifting technology usage and competition (notably with tablets & smartphones) as well as economic pressures (including high unemployment, slow growth & investment, tight credit, and currency fluctuations) related to the Great Recession, sovereign debt crises, and their related impact on international trade.

“On the technology front, the transition to more mobile devices and usage modes is unlikely to stop, although the short term impact on PC shipments may slow as tablet penetration rises – as we’ve begun to see in some mature regions.

“The net result remains consistent with our past forecasts – in particular, that there is potential for PC shipments to stabilize, but not much opportunity for growth.”

The decline has been confirmed by a second report by analysts Gartner, who noted a slightly smaller quarterly decline of 1.7%.

Gartner principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa notes the rate of decline is less severe than in recent quarters largely on account of the Windows XP shutdown.

“The end of XP support by Microsoft on April 8 has played a role in the easing decline of PC shipments. All regions indicated a positive effect since the end of XP support stimulated the PC refresh of XP systems. Professional desktops, in particular, showed strength in the quarter.

“Among key countries, Japan was greatly affected by the end of XP support, registering a 35 percent year-over-year increase in PC shipments.

“The growth was also boosted by sales tax change. We expect the impact of XP migration worldwide to continue throughout 2014.”

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