The bad news is PC shipments are still declining. The good news is third quarter results were better than expected.
That’s according to research firm Gartner, which reports that worldwide PC shipments declined 8.6 percent in the third quarter of 2013 compared with the same quarter last year, marking the sixth consecutive quarter of decline. A total of 80.3 million units were shipped in the quarter.
On the other hand, PC shipments in the U.S. market actually went up 3.5 percent from the third quarter 2012. At 16.1 million units shipped, it was the second consecutive quarter of growth after six quarters of decline, according to Gartner, which attributed the gain to new models running on Intel’s Haswell processor and new form factors.
“The 3Q13 results imply the U.S. market may have passed the worst declining stage, which started in 2010,” said analyst Mikako Kitagawa. “The shrinking installed base of PCs has also passed the steepest decline phase because the structural change has progressed fairly quickly. Tablets will continue to impact the PC market, but the U.S. PC market will see a more moderate decrease rather than a steep decline in the next two years.”
Here’s Gartner’s chart:
Research firm IDC, meanwhile, reported that worldwide PC shipments totaled 81.6 million units in the third quarter, a decline of 7.6 percent from the same quarter last year.
Still, that’s not as bad as the 9.5 percent decline that IDC had projected, thanks to purchases by businesses and by retailers and resellers stocking up on Windows 8.1 PCs, which are scheduled to be available for sale Oct. 18.
Nonetheless, IDC doesn’t project a rosy picture for PCs, saying that “emerging markets continued to exhibit troubling signs” and tablets and smartphones continuing to encroach on the market.
“The third quarter was pretty close to forecast, which unfortunately doesn’t reflect much improvement in the PC market, or potential for near-term growth,” IDC analyst Loren Loverde said. “Whether constrained by a weak economy or being selective in their tech investments, buyers continue to evaluate options and delay PC replacements. Despite being a little ahead of forecast, and the work that’s being done on new designs and integration of features like touch, the third quarter results suggest that there’s still a high probability that we will see another decline in worldwide shipments in 2014.”
Here’s IDC’s chart: