The global PC market contracted 13.9 percent in the first quarter of 2013 and Europe seems to have taken the worst hit. Sales of PCs in Western Europe fell off a cliff in the first three months of the year and they are down 20.5 percent year-on-year. Big brands like Acer and HP did even worse, experiencing a drop in excess of 30 percent.
According to Gartner, all market segments saw a decline. Notebook shipments dropped 24.6 percent, while shipments of desktops dropped 13.8 percent. Shipments to the professional market plunged 17.2 percent, while the consumer market was down 23.7 percent.
“The first quarter of 2013 brought the worst quarterly decline in Western Europe since Gartner started tracking PC shipments in this region,” said Meike Escherich, principal research analyst at Gartner.
He also took a swipe at Windows 8, which failed to revive the market, but shouldn’t get all the blame.
“Wide availability of Windows 8-based PCs could not boost consumer PC purchases during the quarter. Although the new Metro-style user interface suits new form factors, users wonder about its suitability for traditional PCs — non-touchscreen desktops and notebooks,” Escherich added.
However, even a horrible quarter has clear winners and losers, and in this case Lenovo and Apple have cause for celebration. Both bucked the trend and recorded growth. Lenovo is slowly closing the gap and breathing on Acer’s neck in a virtual tie for second place.
HP is still the market leader, with a 19.7 percent market share. Acer and Lenovo are trailing at 11.7 and 11.6 percent respectively. Dell ranked fourth with 9.9 percent, while Apple came in fifth with a 7.9 percent share.
Luckily, the situation is not as dire in Blighty. PC shipments in the UK totalled 2.5 million units in Q1, down 15.8 percent from last year.
“Many consumers no longer require a PC as usage of smartphones and tablets takes over,” said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.
That is an optimistic view. It explains the slump in new sales but there are still many tasks that are not suited for tablets or smartphones. Many consumers are perfectly happy to perform PC-oriented tasks on their old models, and do not see a reason to upgrade.
Mobile PC shipments in Britain declined by 22.0 percent in the first quarter of 2013, while desktop PC volumes decreased by 5.2 percent. HP still leads in Britain with a 19.3 percent share, Dell ranks second with a 13.8 percent share, while Lenovo overtook Acer to seize third spot, with an 11.2 percent share.