It is quickly becoming clear that the PC market may never recover from the growth of tablet computing. For many consecutive quarters now shipments of traditional desktop and notebook PCs have been declining throughout the world. Today market research firm Gartner released yet more data showing just how fast the PC market is falling.
The report shows that just 14.7 million PCs were shipped in Western Europe during the fourth quarter for 2013. This represents a 4.4% year-over-year decline in PC shipments in the region. While desktop PC shipments alone declined 0.3% from 2012, notebook PCs really took a hit with an overall 6.5% drop in shipments throughout Western Europe.
Gartner does see a slight upside for the market in the coming months, though. The firm believes that slowing shipment declines may indicate that much of the impact of the tablet market has already passed. In addition, the coming retirement of Windows XP could help sell more PCs for enterprise as businesses look to upgrade.
Shipments for traditional PCs (desktops and mobile PCs) in 2013 decreased 14 percent, but the rate of unit decline is moderate across geographies - which could indicate that the impact of tablets cannibalizing PC sales in mature markets is fading," said Meike Escherich, principal research analyst at Gartner. "Additionally, large numbers of professional PCs running on Windows XP remained in use, and the corporate market has been increasing its PC replacement - making up for a weak consumer PC market."
Gartner also believes that hybrid PC/tablet devices could sell well in the coming year, as could low-cost notebook devices (such as Chromebooks, which are one of the only notebook segments showing growth).