The hits just keep on coming for traditional PCs. The latest blow comes from the IDC research group, which claims that fourth quarter PC sales were down 6.4 percent compared to the same quarter last year—the first holiday sales decline suffered by the PC industry in five years.
At this point, it’s safe to say that the much-balleyhooed launch of Windows 8 simply hasn’t wooed consumers the way the industry hoped it would. Just a week ago, NPD declared that sales of Windows notebooks specifically were down a whopping 11 percent during the holiday season.
While some of the decline can be laid at the feet of tablet cannibalization and the fact that consumers are now waiting longer to replace their existing PCs, IDC analyst Jay Chou says PC manufacturers have to shoulder some of the blame themselves. “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,” he wrote in the group’s press release.
The stumble at the finish line contributed to the PC industry shipping 3.2 percent fewer units in 2012 than it did in 2011, IDC reports, though PC sales in the U.S. alone slipped a full 7 percent. Even so, there are some bright spots to focus on. Lenovo and ASUS each bucked the downward trends and enjoyed a strong year, with Lenovo threatening HP’s stranglehold on the number one spot. Also, the hardware on display at CES 2013 demonstrated that manufacturers are fully on board with Microsoft’s touch-first, tablet-esque vision of the PC’s future.
The big question: Are consumers on the same page? Chou is skeptical; IDC expects PC sales to grow only 2.8 percent in 2013.