updated 10:20 pm EST, Thu January 10, 2013
Boosts expected from holiday, Windows 8 fail to materialize
Technology industry trend tracker IDC has revealed that the holiday season sales of personal computers dropped for the first time in half a decade. The poor results continued a year of losses for PC manufacturers like Lenovo, Dell, and Toshiba -- who all saw the first year of sales losses in over ten years. Apple gained market share on most of the industry, but still contracted 0.2 percent in the holiday quarter.
The seasonal failure points to a bad launch for the most recent version of Windows, which many manufacturers and analysts were expecting to buoy a segment of the industry under assault by tablet and smartphone sales. "The sense is that until Windows 8 is fully installed and prices start to come down, we will be in this state of negative dynamics in the PC market," said Aaron Rakers, a market analyst at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co.
IDC believes that the new operating system wasn't to blame, but rather, the manufacturers themselves. Jay Chou, senior research analyst at IDC claims that "lost in the shuffle to promote a touch-centric PC, vendors have not forcefully stressed other features that promote a more secure, reliable and efficient user experience."
Other analysts agree with IDC, and blame a "lack of compelling reasons to upgrade." A multitude of factors, including the power of even low-range units to accomplish most users' tasks, have extended the upgrade cycle to between five and ten years for the average computer owner and the business market.
PC makers sold 89.8 million units worldwide in the fourth quarter of 2012, down 6.4 percent from the same quarter of 2011. Over 352 million PCs were sold in 2012, down 3.2 percent from 2011. IDC is forecasting a 2.8 percent growth in PC sales for 2013, but missed the mark with an estimated three percent increase for 2012 in last year's report.