Microsoft Windows 8 pulls down PC shipments to dip more than 10% in Q1 2013

Infotech Lead Asia: Gartner on Wednesday said global PC shipments reached 79.2 million units in the first quarter of 2013, a 11.2 percent decline from the first quarter of 2012.

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.

According to IDC, worldwide PC shipments totaled 76.3 million units in the first quarter of 2013, down -13.9 percent compared to the same quarter in 2012.

Despite some mild improvement in the economic environment and some new PC models offering Windows 8, PC shipments were down significantly across all regions compared to a year ago.

Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, said: “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.”

Table 2
Preliminary U.S. PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 1Q13 (Units)
1Q13 Market
Share (%)
1Q12 Market
Share (%)
Growth (%)
Note: Data includes desk-based PCs and mobile PCs, including mini-notebooks but not media tablets such as the iPad.
Source: Gartner (April 2013)

IDC says fading Mini Notebook shipments have taken a big chunk out of the low-end market while tablets and smartphones continue to divert consumer spending.

PC industry efforts to offer touch capabilities and ultraslim systems have been hampered by traditional barriers of price and component supply, as well as a weak reception for Windows 8.

The PC industry is struggling to identify innovations that differentiate PCs from other products and inspire consumers to buy, and instead is meeting significant resistance to changes perceived as cumbersome or costly.

Bob O’Donnell, IDC Program Vice President, Clients and Displays, said: “While some consumers appreciate the new form factors and touch capabilities of Windows 8, the radical changes to the UI, removal of the familiar Start button, and the costs associated with touch have made PCs a less attractive alternative to dedicated tablets and other competitive devices. Microsoft will have to make some very tough decisions moving forward if it wants to help reinvigorate the PC market.”

David Daoud, IDC Research Director, Personal Computing, said: “Vendors will have to revisit their organizational structures and go to market strategies, as well as their supply chain, distribution, and product portfolios in the face of shrinking demand and looming consolidation.”

United States

The U.S. market had another dismal quarter in Q1 2013, contracting -12.7 percent year on year, with a drop of -18.3 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2012. With total volume falling to 14.2 million, quarterly shipments reached their lowest level since the first quarter of 2006. With this latest figure, the U.S. is now in its tenth consecutive quarter of year-on-year contraction.


As expected, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) remained constrained, posting a stronger double-digit decline than anticipated in the first quarter of 2013. Results fell short of expectations in the consumer segment as softness in demand persisted amid a continued shift to tablets and ongoing budget pressures. Meanwhile, the market response to Windows 8 and touch-enabled devices remained slow, leading to cautious sell-in from most vendors. Shipments in the commercial market remained constrained as predicted, following continued economic pressure and lack of major IT renewals.


PC shipments were in line with expectations in the first quarter. Some economic improvement is helping to support commercial replacement demand ahead of the scheduled end of support for Windows XP next year. However, consumer shipments remained very weak.

Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) (APeJ)

PC shipments in APeJ declined sharply, dropping a record -12.7 percent year on year, the first time the region has experienced a double-digit decline. Although much of the earlier Windows 7 stock had cleared, a lukewarm reception toward Windows 8 hampered new shipments. China’s inactivity contributed heavily to the decline, as public sector spending continued to be constrained.

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