PC shipments in Western Europe declined for the 11th quarter in a row, and suffered the steepest drop on record in the first three months of 2013.
That's according to market watchers at Gartner. Some 12.3 million desktops and notebooks found a home during Q1 of this year - those platforms are not completely dead - but this represented a dive of 20.5 per cent on the same period in 2012, said the bean-counters.
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"The first quarter brought the worst quarterly decline in Western Europe since Gartner started tracking PC shipments in this region," said Meike Escherich, principal abacus fondler.
"Wide availability of Windows 8-based PCs could not boost consumer PC purchases during the quarter. Although the new Metro-style user interface suits new form factors, users wonder about its suitability for traditional PCs," he added.
So the market was down more than three million units on the same quarter a year ago; the professional segment fell 17.2 per cent and retail boxes dropped by 23.7 per cent. Mobile PC sales went down by 24.6 per cent and desktops by 13.8 per cent.
"The battle for consumer wallet share continues between different devices," said Escherich. "The PC is the first to fall by the wayside as usage patterns shift towards smartphones and tablets."
Stating the bleeding obvious, as analysts often do, Gartner said this trend will have a "profound impact" on the installed base of PCs. It seems unlikely that businesses will replace those computers with content-consumption devices - unless, of course, at some point in the future, a smartmobe is docked at a thin-client terminal.
Given the sliding shipments stats, it is hardly surprising that most of the major PC makers suffered a decline in shipments.
Market leader HP was down nearly 32 per cent, selling 2.4 million systems (compared to 3.5 million a year earlier). Acer held onto the second spot even though sales fell 36.8 per cent.
In hot pursuit, Lenovo grew 7.2 per cent to take third place from Dell, as the Texan giant declined 14.7 per cent. Apple grew 0.8 per cent to move into fifth place.
Blighty fared better than the the other key PC markets in the region: shipments declined 15.8 per cent, compared to a 25 per cent drop in France and 20 per cent in Germany. ®