Though PC manufacturers are expecting to make up ground in the third quarter of 2013, it's clear that they've taken a massive hit in the first half of the fiscal year.
Market research firm IHS this week released a report showing that notebook computer shipments have hit their lowest level in three years. From January to March, laptop shipments were only 33.2 million units, far lower (17%) than the over 40 million units shipped in the first quarter of 2012. The decline in shipments was even worse than was expected - 4 to 5 percent worse, according to IHS. Even premium laptop brand Apple was not immune to the declining laptop market.
“Many factors conspired to knock the legs out from under the ODM notebook PC market—such as economic weakness in major markets and the clearance of older models from inventory,” said Peter Lin, a senior analyst for compute platforms at IHS. “However, notebook ODMs and their brand-name customers also are contending with the robust competition in the consumer market coming from smartphones and tablets.”
Laptops, even Apple's premium devices, are now competing with the lower-priced tablet market that has come to prominence in recent years. The 2012 holiday season also saw a significant decline in PC sales over 2011. At the beginning of this year, analysts predicted that tablet shipments could reach 145 million units worldwide this year. IHS does expecte sales of small, thin laptops and the further introduction of touch-screen capabilities to lift laptop shipments, at least slightly, in the second quarter of 2013.