Wednesday 13 November 2019

PC sales drop again for fifth quarter as consumers favour tablets

Consumers favour touch-screen tablets and smartphones for getting online
Consumers favour touch-screen tablets and smartphones for getting online

Ian King

PERSONAL-computer shipments dropped for a fifth straight quarter, the longest losing streak on record, as consumers continued to favour touch-screen tablets and smartphones for getting online.

Second-quarter global unit shipments fell 10.9pc to 76 million, market researcher Gartner said. Sales slid from a year earlier in all regions, including a 1.4pc drop in the US, Gartner said. IDC, another research firm, put the decline at 11.4pc, narrower than its projected 11.7pc contraction.

The extended slump adds to evidence that PC makers and suppliers are still struggling to lure back consumers that have decided they can get the Internet access and computing they need from cheaper tablets. The industry’s aim of having every person own a PC is no longer realistic, said Loren Loverde, an analyst at Framingham, Massachusetts-based IDC.

“Now we’re thinking more conservatively that it’s going to be one tablet per person and one PC per family,” he said. Still, the smaller drop in the US helped spark some optimism that the PC market may do better than some of the most pessimistic forecasts for the year, Loverde said.

PC sales have yet to get a bump from the October release of Microsoft’s Windows 8, an upgrade to the industry’s dominant operating system that was optimized for touch screens, or new processors from Intel. Such new products have traditionally acted as triggers for companies and consumers to trade in old machines. A broad industry failure to bring touch capabilities to PCs at an affordable price has held back the market, according to IDC.

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