Worldwide PC shipments totaled 79.2 million units in the first quarter of 2013, a 11.2 percent decline from the first quarter of 2012, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. Global PC shipments went below 80 million units for the first time since the second quarter of 2009. All regions showed a decrease in shipments, with the EMEA region experiencing the steepest decline.

“In the first quarter of 2013, it was the fourth consecutive quarter that showed a drop in worldwide PC shipments,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. “Consumers are migrating content consumption from PCs to other connected devices, such as tablets and smartphones. Even emerging markets, where PC penetration is low, are not expected to be a strong growth area for PC vendors.

“Unlike the consumer PC segment, the professional PC market, which accounts for about half of overall PC shipments, has seen growth, driven by continuing PC refreshes. Despite the fact that some regions already passed the peak of PC refresh, overall professional PC demand continued to grow.”

HP and Lenovo were in a virtual tie for the top position in the first quarter of 2013 (see Table 1). HP had a very challenging quarter, as it recorded its worst shipment decline since the acquisition of Compaq in 2003. HP’s consumer business negatively affected its overall shipment volume, but its professional business was also under attack by competitors.

Table 1: Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 1Q13 (Units)
Gartner: Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 1Q13 (Units)
Data includes desk-based PCs and mobile PCs, including mini-notebooks but not media tablets such as the iPad.

Lenovo’s worldwide PC shipments were flat compared with a year ago. While its shipment growth rate exceeded the overall industry average, it was Lenovo’s slowest growth since the first quarter of 2009. The slowdown was attributed to a shipment decline in Asia/Pacific, where more than 50 percent of Lenovo’s PCs were shipped.

Dell also had a challenging quarter, registering a shipment decline in all regions except Japan. In Gartner’s preliminary view, Dell’s shipment growth in Japan was boosted by moderate demand, driven by a corporate refresh. Dell’s discussions about a possible leveraged buyout impacted shipments, as competitors aggressively attacked Dell’s position in the professional market.

In the U.S. market, PC shipments totaled 14.2 million units in the first quarter of 2013, a 9.6 percent decline from the first quarter of 2012 (see Table 2). It marked a record of six consecutive quarters of shipment declines.

“Although the overall economy had some upward momentum, it did not help buoy PC growth, suggesting the economic recovery is having little impact on PC market conditions,” Ms. Kitagawa said. “Similar to other mature markets, the U.S. will see the installed base of consumer PCs decrease going forward. This is because many of these systems will not be replaced with PCs; they will be displaced by other devices, or simply retired.”

Apple and Lenovo were the only vendors among the top five in the U.S. to experience PC shipment growth in the first quarter of 2013. HP held onto the top position, accounting for 24.2 percent of PC shipments in the U.S.; however, its shipments declined 23.3 percent from the first quarter of 2012.

Table 2: Preliminary U.S. PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 1Q13 (Units)
Gartner: Preliminary U.S. PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 1Q13 (Units)
Data includes desk-based PCs and mobile PCs, including mini-notebooks but not media tablets such as the iPad.

PC shipments in EMEA totaled 23.3 million units in the first quarter of 2013, a 16 percent decline from the same period last year. It was the third consecutive quarter of declining shipments, and it was the steepest decline for the region since Gartner began tracking the region. Ongoing economic uncertainties in Southern European countries resulted in lower spending in those markets. Similar to other regions, consumers’ interest continues to focus on smartphones and tablets, rather than PCs.

In Asia/Pacific, PC shipments totaled 27.6 million units in the first quarter of 2013, a 10.3 percent decline from the first quarter of 2012. This region also experienced its strongest decline since Gartner began tracking PC shipments. Asia/Pacific buyers remained cautious in spending amid a fragile economic environment. Both China and India experienced year-over-year shipment declines.

These results are preliminary. Final statistics will be available soon to clients of Gartner’s PC Quarterly Statistics Worldwide by Region program. This program offers a comprehensive and timely picture of the worldwide PC market, allowing product planning, distribution, marketing and sales organizations to keep abreast of key issues and their future implications around the globe. Additional research can be found on Gartner’s Computing Hardware section on Gartner’s website at http://www.gartner.com/it/products/research/asset_129157_2395.jsp.

Source: Gartner, Inc.

MacDailyNews Take: Why waste your money on a truck when all you really need is a car?

When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks, because that’s what you needed on the farm. But as vehicles started to be used in the urban centers, cars got more popular. Innovations like automatic transmission and power steering and things that you didn’t care about in a truck as much started to become paramount in cars… PCs are going to be like trucks. They’re still going to be around, they’re still going to have a lot of value, but they’re going to be used by one out of X people. – Steve Jobs, June 1, 2010

MacDailyNews Note: IDC claims Apple Mac sales were down 7.5% in Q113. Gartner claims, “Nope. Up 7.4%.” Apple to report the actual number of Macs sold on April 23rd.

Related articles:
IDC: PC shipments post the steepest decline ever in a single quarter, down 13.9% in Q113 – April 10, 2013
Steve Jobs was right, of course: Tablets are cars and PCs are trucks – January 9, 2013