Despite all the hype, PC sales during the year’s most important buying season remained as sluggish as ever. In fact, for the first time in a half-decade, PC sales declined in the fourth quarter. Vendor rankings remained the same, with Hewlett-Packard ranked first in PC shipments, followed by Lenovo, Dell and Acer.
PC makers sold 89.8 million units globally in the fourth quarter of 2012, down 6.4 percent from the same quarter in 2011, according to new figures from IDC. Sales for the year also slipped, falling from about 364 million in 2011 to 352 million in 2012. That’s a 3.2 percent drop.
Why the decline? A number of reasons. Continuing economic woes obviously had some effect on sales, as did consumers’ increasing fascination with tablets and smartphones. But IDC also thinks PC makers blew it by not releasing compelling new hardware to take advantage of Windows 8′s new features.
“Consumers expected all sorts of cool PCs with tablet- and touch-optimized capabilities,” IDC research director David Daoud explained. “Instead, they mostly saw traditional PCs that feature a new OS (Windows 8) optimized for touch and tablet with applications and hardware that are not yet able to fully utilize these capabilities.”
In other words, it was going to be a tough quarter to begin with. But PC makers didn’t do themselves any favors by failing to capitalize on the benefits of Windows 8, or at least explaining them well to consumers.
And that will likely remain a challenge in the year ahead. For 2013, IDC forecasts a meager 2.8 percent growth in PC sales.
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