Global PC sales dip to five-year low

Global shipments of personal computers (PCs) have hit a five-year low, according to new figures from the research firm Gartner.

Shipments totalled 80.3m units in the three months to September, down 8.6% from a year ago.

PC sales have now fallen for six quarters in a row, hurt by the growing popularity of tablets and smartphones.

Gartner said falling prices of tablets had further hurt sales of PCs in emerging markets.

“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,” Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, said in a statement.

“A greater availability of inexpensive Android tablets attracted first-time consumers in emerging markets, and as supplementary devices in mature markets.”

Decline

Research firm IDC, also released figures on Thursday, which showed global shipments of PCs fell by 7.6% to 81.6m units over the period.

Gartner and IDC use slightly different methods to calculate PC shipment data.

IDC said it was likely the ongoing decline in PC sales would continue into next year.

“Whether constrained by a weak economy or being selective in their tech investments, buyers continue to evaluate options and delay PC replacements,” Loren Loverde, vice president of IDC’s Worldwide PC Trackers, said in a statement.

In July this year, IDC had said it was still looking for some improvement in growth during the second half of the year. It has now reversed that view.

“The third quarter was pretty close to forecast, which unfortunately doesn’t reflect much improvement in the PC market, or potential for near-term growth,” said Mr Loverde.