(By Balachander) Global PC shipments fell nearly 5 percent in the final three months of 2012, indicating likely structural changes to the market rather than weak demand, Gartner Inc. said.
Analysts at Gartner said the PC industry's problems point to something beyond a weak economy.
Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner said the availability of compelling low-cost tablets caused PC users to shift consumption to tablets rather than replacing older PCs.
"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," said Kitagawa.
In the fourth quarter of 2012, worldwide PC shipments were 90.3 million units. In the U.S., PC shipments dropped 2.1 percent to 17.5 million units, Gartner said.
The PC market continues to face many headwinds, Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner said. "The launch of Windows 8 had no impact on PC demand, especially as Ultramobile products were both limited in supply, as well as being priced too high."
HP (HPQ) regained the top spot in global PC shipments in the fourth quarter of 2012, though its shipments decline 0.5 percent from the year-ago quarter. Among the top five PC vendors, only Lenovo registered 8.2 percent growth year-on-year. Dell (DELL) shipments fell around 21 percent.
The increasing choice of tablets at decreasing price points no doubt became a favorite Christmas present ahead of PCs, Atwal said.
For the full year 2012, PC shipments decreased 3.5 percent to 352.7 million units, Gartner said.