MARKET ANALYST Gartner has reported that PC shipments declined again in the third quarter, slipping more than eight percent worldwide year over year, with Taiwanese hardware makers Acer and Asus bearing the worst of the slump.
Gartner conveyed the continuing bad news in the PC market by announcing that 80.3 million PCs shipped in the third quarter, a drop of 8.6 percent from the same quarter last year and marking the seventh consecutive quarter of declining worldwide PC shipments.
Though things look bad for the industry in general, Acer has much more to worry about, seeing the PC industry's largest decline in shipment growth.
Shifting 6.6 million PCs in the third quarter compared to the 8.6 million PCs it shipped in the same quarter last year, Acer saw shipments drop 22.6 percent year over year.
Taiwanese rival Asus wasn't far behind, though, with shipments falling from 6.3 million in the third quarter of last year to a rather depressing 4.9 million in the same quarter this year for a decline of 22.5 percent.
Gartner said that its data accounts for sales of desktop PCs and mobile PCs such as notebooks and ultrabooks only. Tablets are excluded from its PC figures.
Despite the general plunge in sales, Dell, HP and Lenovo were the only PC makers that managed growth in the third quarter, with the three firms demonstrating 1.0, 1.5 and 2.8 percent growth year over year, respectively.
As it did in the second quarter, Chinese computer firm Lenovo managed to boost shipments year over year and accounted for 17.6 percent of global PC shipments in the third quarter. According to Gartner's results, HP had 17.1 percent of shipments, showing how both firms have been virtually neck and neck for the top global position in the PC market. Although Lenovo took the lead, as it did last quarter, the upcoming holiday sales season will be a key battlefield for both companies.
"The third quarter is often referred to as the 'back-to-school' quarter for PC sales, and sales this quarter dropped to their lowest volume since 2008," said Gartner principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa, who went on to blame tablets for the continuing decline in PC sales.
He said, "Consumers' shift from PCs to tablets for daily content consumption continued to decrease the installed base of PCs both in mature as well as in emerging markets. A greater availability of inexpensive Android tablets attracted first-time consumers in emerging markets, and as supplementary devices in mature markets."
As for Apple, Gartner didn't yet have the figures on hand to give us its position worldwide as a global computer supplier. It did, however, list Apple in its US-focused PC shipments table, ranking the Cupertino giant in fifth place in terms of growth, and demonstrating a decline in shipments of 2.3 percent, behind Lenovo, Toshiba, HP, and Dell, which all showed positive growth of 24.6, 13.5, 4.5 and 3.3 percent, respectively. µ