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Worldwide PC shipments fall by 6.9 per cent to 82.6 million units in fourth quarter

Worldwide PC shipments reached 82.6 million units in the fourth quarter, down 6.9 per cent from the year before and the seventh consecutive quarter of lower shipments, according to preliminary results by Gartner.
Gartner said markets such as the US have bottomed out as the adjustment to the installed base slows. Still, strong growth in tablets continued to negatively impact PC growth in emerging markets.
In these markets, Gartner said that the first connected device for consumers is most likely a smartphone, and the first computing device a tablet. For the year, PC shipments fell 10 percent from the year before to 315.9 million units, the worst decline in PC market history, equal to shipment levels in 2009.
Lenovo took over the top spot in the global PC market, accounting for 16.9 percent of the market. HP moved into the second spot after experiencing a shipment decline of 9.3 per cent. Lenovo also led the PC market in Q4, accounting for 18.1 per cent of global PC shipments. Lenovo showed strong growth in all regions, except Asia/Pacific, where China continued to be a problematic country for the company. HP accounted for 16.4 per cent, experiencing a shipments decline of 7.2 per cent. US and Latin America were two regions where HP could not increase its shipments.
Dell came in third with 11.8 per cent after redefining its strategic focus also on consumer PCS, particularly in emerging markets. Acer came next with 7.8 per cent, followed by Asus with 6.5 per cent. Both Acer and Asus focus more on tablets. Acer has established a strong position in the Chromebook market, while Asus has built a solid reputation as a tablet vendor. PCs are still strategic products for both companies, but share gain is not the top priority for them.
In the US, PC shipments totaled 15.8 million units, a 7.5 per cent decline from the year earlier. Despite a 10.3 per cent decline in shipments, HP continued to be the number one vendor in the US, accounting for 26.5 per cent of shipments, followed by Dell (2.8 per cent), Apple (13.7 per cent), Lenovo (9.7 per cent) and Toshiba (7.2 per cent).
Tablets took most of the attention of holiday shoppers in the US, but Gartner still feels the PC market has bottomed out. The researcher noted that lowering the price point of thin and light products started encouraging PC replacement and potentially some PC growth this year.
PC shipments in EMEA totaled 25.8 million units, with the decline slowing to 6.7 per cent year-on-year. All areas of the region -Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the Middle East and Africa- showed a shipment decline. Shipments in Eastern Europe were driven by the professional segment, as companies had to finalise IT spending for the year. Consumers replaced PCs only on a needed basis. Tablets, especially Android-based, were a popular holiday present and average selling prices (ASPs) for them continued to decline.
PC shipments in Asia/Pacific fell by 9.8 per cent to 26.5 million units, with consumers opting to spend on smartphones. Some continued to delay their purchases of a PC as their requirements, such as entertainment and information access, can be addressed by other devices, such as tablets.