PC sales fall for sixth consecutive quarter as the shift to tablets and phones continues

With the holiday season fast approaching, tech companies will be doing their damndest to get you to buy one of their gadgets or gizmos, though it looks like companies focusing on PC sales are going to have a far harder time of it than those with tablets or smartphones to offer.

Research firms have been informing us for some time now that sales of desktops and laptops are on the decline, with consumers turning increasingly to reasonably priced tablets and smartphones that do more than enough to keep them happy.

Gartner said Wednesday that worldwide PC shipments for the three-month period from July to September hit 80.3 million units. While this is a figure not to be scoffed at, it does however mark an 8.6 percent drop from the same quarter in 2012 and, more worryingly for manufacturers of such machines, is the sixth consecutive quarter of declining worldwide shipments.

“Sales this quarter dropped to their lowest volume since 2008,” Gartner principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa said in a release. “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.”

gartner Q3 2013

When you look at the sales figures for the leading players, the situation doesn’t look quite so bad. Lenovo and HP continue to battle it out at the top, with the former notching up 14.2 million sales in the quarter, up 2.8 percent on the same quarter a year ago. HP also improved on last year’s third quarter with 13.7 million sales, marking a 1.5 percent increase. Dell, too, saw sales improve by 1 percent, with 9.3 million sales in the three-month period.

Acer and Asus, however, have suffered badly in the last 12 months, with sales dropping by 22.6 and 22.5 percent, respectively.

With 2013 PC shipments certain to show a decline over the previous year, and tablet sales forecast to grow by a hefty 67.9 percent with 202 million sales, companies struggling in the shrinking PC market without anything exciting to offer in the increasingly saturated tablet market, or in any other tech market for that matter, certainly have their work cut out to ensure healthy revenues in the long term.

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