PCs suffer longest sales decline in history
Worldwide sales of personal computers dropped for a fifth consecutive quarter in the April-June period, the longest decline in the PC market's history.
The survey by Gartner found China's Lenovo has edged past Hewlett-Packard as the world's largest vendor, reclaiming the top spot it had captured briefly last year.
The preliminary figures showed a worldwide drop of 10.9pc in the second quarter compared with the same period a year ago, with PC shipments falling to 76m units.
"We are seeing the PC market reduction directly tied to the shrinking installed base of PCs, as inexpensive tablets displace the low-end machines used primarily for consumption in mature and developed markets," said Mikako Kitagawa, analyst at Gartner.
"In emerging markets, inexpensive tablets have become the first computing device for many people, who, at best, are deferring the purchase of a PC. This is also accounting for the collapse of the mini notebook market."
Gartner's survey showed Lenovo taking a 16.7pc global market share with shipments of 12.67m units, just ahead of HP's 12.4m and 16.3pc share. Both firms saw sales declines, but Lenovo's was limited to 0.6pc while HP sales fell 4.8pc.
Dell was the number three vendor, with sales of 8.9m and a market share of 11.8pc.
Number four vendor Acer experienced a drop of 35pc, and fifth-place Asus showed a 20.5pc drop as the two Taiwan-based firms decided to exit the mini-notebook market.
The PC market has been struggling amid a shift to tablets, and got little help from the new Windows 8 operating system introduced by Microsoft last year.
"While Windows 8 has been blamed by some as the reason for the PC market's decline, we believe this is unfounded as it does not explain the sustained decline in PC shipments, nor does it explain Apple's market performance," Ms Kitagawa said.
Apple was not among the top five global vendors, but was third in the US market with a 4.3pc drop in sales in the past quarter, Gartner said.
Overall US sales totalled 15m units in the second quarter, a 1.4pc decline from a year earlier, and the figure was 8.5pc higher than the first quarter.
Ms Kitagawa said the US market showed resilience because of "solid growth in the professional market", with some replacements of corporate computers.
In the region including Europe, the Middle East and Africa, PC sales saw a 16.8pc year-over-year drop, Gartner said. In Asia, the drop was 11.5pc.
A separate survey by research firm IDC showed a similar picture, estimating the decline at 11.4pc and 75.6m units.
But IDC said the decline was not as bad as its earlier forecasts.
"We are still looking for some improvement in growth during the second half of the year," said Jay Chou, an IDC analyst.
"While efforts by the PC ecosystem to bring down price points and embrace touch computing should make PCs more attractive, a lot still needs to be done in launching attractive products and addressing competition from devices like tablets.