Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

PC Sales Show Biggest Q1 Decline Ever

trainwreckSales of personal computers were very nearly twice as bad as previously expected and experienced their worst year-on-year decline ever in the first quarter of 2013, according to the market research firm IDC, in a report released this afternoon.

Worldwide PC shipments came in at 76.3 million units in the first quarter of the year, amounting to a decline of nearly 14 percent. That’s much worse than the firm’s forecast, which called for a decline of 7.7 percent.

The findings also amount to the fourth consecutive quarter in which sales declined compared to the previous quarter. Neither new versions of Windows from Microsoft nor faster chips from Intel spurred new interest among consumers or businesses. Meanwhile, mini-notebook sales hurt the low end of the market.

Acer experienced the largest sales drop in the period, showing a contraction of shipments by nearly 32 percent year on year. Hewlett-Packard, the world’s market leader, saw its shipments fall by nearly 24 percent. Asus, ranked No. 5, saw shipments fall by more than 19 percent. Dell’s shipments fell by nearly 11 percent. The only vendor that didn’t see a contraction in shipments was China’s Lenovo, where shipments were flat year on year.

idc-top5-q12013

Even Apple, which ranks among “other” in IDC’s global rankings, saw declines in its leading market, North America, where sales of Macs dropped by 7.5 percent. At this time, however, it has be said that much of the blame for the damage being done to the PC businesses of all the companies around the world can be laid at Apple’s feet: Sales of the iPad, the world’s leading tablet brand, have a lot to do with the collapse in PC sales. While Apple hasn’t yet released sales results for the first calendar quarter of 2013 — its first fiscal quarter is the fourth quarter on the calendar — when it last reported iPad sales, they had swelled by more than 48 percent to nearly 23 million units from 15 million and change the prior year.

Research firm Gartner also chimed in with its findings: They’re bad, too. It was the first quarter in which shipments fell below 80 million units since 2009. By Gartner’s reckoning, Europe led the declines geographically.

Here’s Gartner’s look at the top five:

gartnerq12013

HP fell nearly 2 percent to $21.91 in after-hours trading. Dell shares ticked up by a penny after hours. Apple shares fell 40 cents. Intel shares fell 36 cents, or more than 1.6 percent. Microsoft fell by more than 1 percent.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus