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PC Shipments End Year on a Very Sour Note

The news doesn't look a whole lot brighter for 2014, either.

PC shipments for 2013 are ending on a historically bad note.

IDC expects the global PC market will be down 10 percent this year, compared with 2012, at around 314 million units shipped (see chart). That reduction in PCs shipped constitutes "by far the most severe yearly contraction on record," according to IDC's "Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker" report. The decline was greater in the consumer market (-15 percent) than in the commercial market (-5 percent).

The year 2014 promises to deliver a continued decline in PC shipments of -3.8 percent worldwide, according to IDC's forecasting. The research and consulting firm expects to see shipment declines even in so-called "emerging markets," a segment typically thought of as an area for growth.

The tablet market also appears to be closing the year with lower estimated numbers, according to IDC's "Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker" report. IDC expects that 221 million tablets will have shipped globally in 2013, down from its earlier forecast of 227 million tablets. However, that 221-million figure is 53 percent higher than 2012's number, so the tablet segment has shown some growth. But 2014 will be expected cut that growth rate to 22 percent, and IDC expects to see tablet shipments peaking in 2017.

A trend toward larger tablets (see chart) could boost Microsoft's prospects in the tablet market. However, IDC Research Analyst Jitesh Ubrani noted that the availability of new Windows 8-based machines from Dell, HP and Lenovo have not been broadly available halfway through the holiday season.

Android operating system use predominated on tablets shipped in 2013, with a 61 percent share of the market. Second in line was Apple's iOS at 35 percent of the tablet market, followed by Windows with a three-percent market share. IDC researchers think that Windows on tablets eventually will grow to have a 10-percent market share by 2017.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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