Q2 reports see global PC shipments continue to fall

Personal computer sales continued to fall during the second quarter of the year, as consumers remained more interested in other technologies like smartphones and tablets, according to two separate analyst reports released this week.

In the US, PC shipments totaled 15.9 million units during the second quarter of 2012, a 6 per cent decline from the same period last year, according to Gartner (top). But IDC put the decline closer to 11 per cent, noting that the US market "fared worse than expected," during the quarter.

Worldwide PC shipments were a tad better, totaling around 87.5 million units in the second quarter of 2012, a decrease of just 0.1 per cent from last year. However, this is the seventh consecutive quarter that global PC shipments have either declined or edged up only a bit, Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, said in a statement.

"Consumers are less interested in spending on PCs as there are other technology product and services, such as the latest smartphones and media tablets that they are purchasing," Kitagawa said. "This is more of a trend in the mature market as PCs are highly saturated in these markets."

Also, a large portion of PC research and development funds have been allocated to ultrabook development, but these devices have failed to produce a significant rise in shipments thus far. "This segment is still in an early adopter's stage," Kitagawa said.

Overall, HP and Dell saw significant declines in global PC shipments during the quarter.

HP, despite suffering a 12-13 per cent drop in shipments, managed to come out on top as the world's biggest PC supplier, with around 15 per cent share of the market, according to the reports. In the second spot, Lenovo saw an increase in shipments, "significantly narrowing the market share gap with HP," Gartner reported.

Dell nabbed a spot within the top five worldwide vendors, but saw PC shipments decline by about 12 per cent globally, and 9 per cent in the US market. Acer, also in the top five, saw an increase in shipments ranging from about 0.5 per cent to 3.6 per cent. Rounding out the top five was Asus, which saw the biggest gains during the period, increasing worldwide shipments by about 39-40 per cent.

Meanwhile, Apple did not rank among the top five suppliers worldwide, but was the third largest desktop vendor in the US, both IDC and Gartner reported. But the firms reported some differences in Mac shipments.

Gartner said that Apple shipped 1.9 million Macs in the US during the quarter, a 4.3 per cent increase compared to the year before. IDC, however, reported Apple Mac shipments fell 1.1 per cent during the quarter.

Recent reports also indicate that Apple and, more specifically, the iPad, continues to dominate the US tablet market.