Gartner: Q213 PC shipments drop 11% YOY as post-PC decline continues

Worldwide PC shipments dropped to 76 million units in the second quarter of 2013, a 10.9 percent decrease from the same period last year, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. This marks the fifth consecutive quarter of declining shipments, which is the longest duration of decline in the PC market’s history.

All regions showed a decline compared to a year ago. The fall in the Asia/Pacific PC market continued, showing five consecutive quarters of the shipment decline, while the EMEA PC market registered two consecutive quarters of double-digit decline.

“We are seeing the PC market reduction directly tied to the shrinking installed base of PCs, as inexpensive tablets displace the low-end machines used primarily for consumption in mature and developed markets,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, in a statement. “In emerging markets, inexpensive tablets have become the first computing device for many people, who at best are deferring the purchase of a PC. This is also accounting for the collapse of the mini notebook market.”
HP and Lenovo’s neck-and-neck competition continued. This time, Lenovo was back in the top position by only a small difference in share (see Table 1). Lenovo showed mixed regional results, as it experienced strong growth in the Americas and EMEA, while showing a major decline in Asia/Pacific. Weakness in China was most likely the contributor of Lenovo’s shipment decline in the region as the majority of Lenovo’s volume came from China.

While HP was slightly behind Lenovo, HP is a market leader in key regions including the U.S., EMEA and Latin America. Asia/Pacific has been a weakness the last three years for HP, but preliminary second quarter results suggest an improvement of their performance in the region.

Table 1: Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2Q13 (Units)
Gartner: Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2Q13 (Units)
Note: Data includes desk-based PCs and mobile PCs, including mini-notebooks but not media tablets such as the iPad. Source: Gartner (July 2013)

Dell’s shipments declined compared to a year ago, but its 2Q13 results showed a smaller decline than the past several quarters. Dell showed good growth in the U.S. and Japan, but struggled to increase shipments in Asia/Pacific and EMEA. Both Acer and ASUS showed steep declines compared to the second quarter last year. The decline was partly affected by their strategies to exit the mini-notebook market.

“While Windows 8 has been blamed by some as the reason for the PC market’s decline, we believe this is unfounded as it does not explain the sustained decline in PC shipments, nor does it explain Apple’s market performance,” Ms. Kitagawa said.

In the U.S. market, PC shipments totaled 15 million units in the second quarter of 2013, a 1.4 percent decline from the second quarter of 2012 (see Table 2). This decline was less than the past seven quarters, and the market grew 8.5 percent sequentially.

“Our preliminary results indicate that this reduced market decline was attributed to solid growth in the professional market,” Ms. Kitagawa said. “Three of the major professional PC suppliers, HP, Dell and Lenovo, all registered better than U.S. average growth rate. The end of Windows XP support potentially drove the remaining PC refresh in the U.S. professional market.”

Table 2: Preliminary U.S. PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2Q13 (Units)
Gartner: Table 2: Preliminary U.S. PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2Q13 (Units)
Note: Data includes desk-based PCs and mobile PCs, including mini-notebooks but not media tablets such as the iPad. Source: Gartner (July 2013)

PC shipments in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) were weakened in the second quarter of 2013, with a 16.8 per cent decline over the same period last year, marking the fifth consecutive quarter of decreasing shipments.

“The sharp decline in the second quarter of 2013 was partly due to the shift in usage patterns away from notebooks to tablets, and partly because the PC market was exposed to inventory reductions in the channel due to the start of the transition to new Haswell-based products,” said Isabelle Durand, principal research analyst at Gartner, in a statement. “Touch-based notebooks still account for less than 10 per cent of the total consumer notebook shipments in the last quarter.”

“Shipment levels remained weak in Western Europe in the second quarter of 2013 as PC replacement rates continued to be extremely low, while the challenging economic environment is muting spending in consumer markets,” said Ms Durand. “Shipments in Eastern Europe also remained low as this is typically a quiet quarter for business buyers in the region, and consumers are predominantly looking for Android-based tablets. In the Middle East and Africa, tablet and smartphone adoption also continued to draw demand away from PCs in the second quarter of 2013.”

Despite the steep shipment decline, HP retained the top position in EMEA due to better results in the professional PC market. Lenovo was the only top five vendor to exhibit shipment growth, recording a fourth consecutive quarter of growth and taking second place in the EMEA PC vendor rankings in the second quarter of 2013.
Acer exhibited the worst performance of the second quarter with a shipment decline of 38.5 percent year-on-year. Most of Acer’s decline resulted from its portfolio shifting away from netbooks to Android tablets. ASUS also experienced a PC shipment decline in the second quarter 2013. The drop of its netbooks continued to impact its overall notebook results.

Table 3: Preliminary EMEA PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2Q13 (Units)
Gartner: Preliminary EMEA PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2Q13 (Units)
Notes: Data includes desk-based PCs and mobile PCs, including x86 tablets equipped with Windows 8. All data is estimated, based on a preliminary study. Final estimates will be subject to change. The statistics are based on the shipments selling into channels. Source: Gartner (July 2013)

In Asia/Pacific, PC shipments surpassed 26.8 million units in the second quarter of 2013, an 11.5 percent decline from the first quarter of 2012. All country markets across the region showed weakness, but India performed slightly better due to a state PC tender fulfillment. China’s PC shipment remained weak as the consumer market was hampered with lack of new demand generation programs, such as subsidized PC program in the rural cities.

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

Source: Gartner, Inc.

MacDailyNews Take: Note that Gartner’s PC shipment numbers include Windows 8 tablets, but Apple’s iPads are not included.

As usual, Steve knew what would happen:

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

I see cannibalization as a huge opportunity for us. Our core philosophy is to never fear cannibalization. If we don’t do it, someone else will. We know that iPhone has cannibalized some of our iPod business. That doesn’t worry us. We know that iPad will cannibalize some Macs. But that’s not a concern.

On iPad in particular, we have the mother of all opportunities because the Windows market is much, much larger than the Mac market. It is clear that it is already cannibalizing some. I still believe the tablet market will be larger than the PC market at some point. You can see by the growth in tablets and pressure on PCs that those lines are beginning to converge.

If somebody buys an iPad mini or an iPad, if it’s their first Apple product, a percentage of these people wind up buying another type of Apple product. If you remember what we had termed the halo effect for the iPod with the Mac, we’re very confident that will happen with the iPad as well. – Tim Cook, January 23, 2013


  1. As always, the figures quoted for all companies are shipments not sales. OH. All except Apple. Apples numbers are for sales. Apple never quotes shipments, just sales.

  2. A number of things are happening:
    1- Tablets and other mobile devices working as thin clients can replace many conventional PCs. Thin client usage can also extend the life of older units.
    2- The replacement cycle is undoubtedly slowing down as the differences between generations of HW is not as significant as it once was.
    3- Embedded OS devices continue to displace Desktop units in many areas.
    4- For many people an iOS or Android device is all the PC they are likely to need.

    1. Derek, I’d appreciate your sage advice in understanding a conundrum.

      Poster “Assault” challenges the “shipped versus sold” argument as it applies to Apple; see link below.

      It would appear that, as with reporting practices and timetables, product categories, partial surveys, interpolations and other confounding factors, each vendor has their own definition of “sold” and even “shipped”.

      To some, these shifty numerical factors may seem to matter little, as analysts’ projections are “only” estimates, vaguely understood to dwell in some confidence interval.

      My own experience as a medical records DBA forces me to consider the possibility of real damage being done because of a combination of standards-independent reporting, corporate deception, and analyst innumeracy.

      Granted, it isn’t life-or-death but it certainly could be make-or-break, and I suspect it is exactly this loophole that allows clever swindlers to game the system and play the rest of us for fools.

      1. Hi Hannah!

        I understand the issue. There is no standardization of what these numbers actually MEAN. Considering the still ongoing disagreements over plain old accounting methods, I don’t see much hope of these numbers ever being ‘standard’.

        Regarding Apple, at least they’re providing some sort of details about the provided numbers mean. They may not be ideal ‘standards’ worthy numbers. But the obfuscation is less than a lot of other company’s baloney, fiddled to IMPRESS! numbers.

        IMHO the final, real numbers are product income and product profit during a quarter. That means you have to wait for them. There are the ‘gotta get an edge’ people who want something sooner. Jim Cramer was ranting about this concept this weeke And of course all Cramer’s fanatics want to play that game. Have fun! Clearly there is the continuing incentive for unscrupulousness in the short term for short term gain in perception and sheeple herding. But as ever, in the long term, cheaters get kicked in the butt by their self-destructive deceit. Samsung is getting a good kick up the backside at the moment after months of desperate and dire working of their marketing spin.

  3. For many typical users/purchasers, their PC is already capable of performing the tasks they require from it and don’t see any other needs in the future. They are not in the market for heavy image/video processing and are happy with what they have. The only thing that may intrigue them is ultra portability and long battery life: iPad.

  4. I personally own and use, almost on a daily basis, an iMac, a Mac mini, a MacBook Air, an iPad, and an iPhone. The two that sit idle on some days are the iMac and the MacBook Air. The Air, the iPad, and the iPhone go with me when I travel overnight. The iPhone is with me constantly. The iPad is almost never out of reach. That having been said, I think I am atypical. I make a living writing software and running a business on software that I developed. I would like to know what percentage of the people who bought PCs in their heyday would have been just as happy with an iPad if one had been available at the time. It seems to me that what’s left is the addressable market for PCs.

    This would be an interesting number to see coming out of Gartner. Not the tables with the numbers as reported by the manufacturers after the fact. What is the addressable market likely to be?

  5. So, Apple wasn’t selling Mac Pro’s in Europe and now, everyone is holding off for the NEW Mac Pro this September that will be “Made in the USA”. So again, we count markets that Apple isn’t selling in and don’t include the Apple products (iPads) that are crushing the PC market.

    Apple is building billion dollar server farms that are stuffed with servers. Who’s servers? How many PC’s did Apple make and not sell because they are being put in the server farms? If Apple is using someone else’s servers then Apple is pumping up someone else’s numbers! Apple talked about their 5 server farms. How many server farms are the really making powered by solar panels and fuel cells for parts of the world with unstable power supplies?

    Does anyone care to really see the reality that Apple is creating.

  6. People here keep complaining how manufacturers keep reporting numbers shipped vs. numbers sold, unlike Apple, which reports numbers sold, and interpret that as misleading and not comparable.

    My question is, why and how? What is the fundamental difference? An item that is shipped is eventually sold. Either at full price, or at discount price weeks (or months) later, but it doesn’t simply disappear from the face of the Earth (nor is it sent back to the manufacturer). There may be situations when a product turns out to be a colossal flop, sells so poorly that retailers actually send it back demanding their money back, and manufacturer absorbs the loss. These situations are extremely rare and usually make the news (I believe Kin was one of them). In all other situations, all those numbers shipped become numbers sold; perhaps not in the same quarter, but then they add to the numbers of the following quarter. One way or another, the products do make it to the end consumer, and revenue is there to show for it.

    About the only variable in this equation (how many weeks between shipped and sold) is the ultimate profit made on them by the retailers. If they are sold within a few weeks, retailer will make a solid profit on them; if they sit for more than a few weeks in the retailer’s warehouses or on shelves, discounting will eventually move them, but will reduce (or eliminate) profits. The manufacturer, however, will still have sold and shipped it to the channel.

    So, let us stop crying about numbers shipped vs. numbers sold. There really isn’t that much of a difference.

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