In the U.S., PC shipments totaled 17.5million units in the fourth quarter of 2012, a 2.1 percent decline from the fourth quarter of 2011 (see Table 2). Due to the tight inventory control and preparation for the Windows 8 launch, most PC vendors were able to ship Windows 8 PCs to the retail space. However, PC sell-through was rather weak which leaves some level of inventory concerns for vendors in the consumer market.
“Consumer’s holiday spending went into other products and services, and U.S. holiday sales became less important for PC sales. For professionals, the fourth quarter is typically a good sales season because of last minutes PC purchases before the tax year-end. Our early research indicates that there was good growth in professional PC sales,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner.
Notably, the report found that PC shipments worldwide decreased by 4.9% in Q4 year over year. The reason is thought to be a shift from a multi-PC household to a single-PC household with tablets.
“Tablets have dramatically changed the device landscape for PCs, not so much by ‘cannibalizing’ PC sales, but by causing PC users to shift consumption to tablets rather than replacing older PCs,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. “Whereas as once we imagined a world in which individual users would have both a PC and a tablet as personal devices, we increasingly suspect that most individuals will shift consumption activity to a personal tablet, and perform creative and administrative tasks on a shared PC. There will be some individuals who retain both, but we believe they will be exception and not the norm. Therefore, we hypothesize that buyers will not replace secondary PCs in the household, instead allowing them to age out and shifting consumption to a tablet.”