Q3 2013 was not a happy time for PC manufacturers.
PC sales are down again in Q3 2013, dropping 8.6% worldwide, and are at their lowest volume for this quarter since 2008. Why is Q3 vital? Because it's the back-to-school quarter, that moment when manufacturers can guarantee parents are going to be outfitting their spawn with everything needed for academic success. Now it's up to the Christmas season to cheer up the PC market, but if current trends are any indication it may be a lean Christmas this year for the likes of Lenovo and HP.
"Consumers' shift from PCs to tablets for daily content consumption continued to decrease the installed base of PCs both in mature as well as in emerging markets," says Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at analyst Gartner. "A greater availability of inexpensive Android tablets attracted first-time consumers in emerging markets, and as supplementary devices in mature markets." Tablets are the PC's biggest threat right now; consumers from Russia to Africa are spurning the PC for an Android. It's not helped by local conditions in those markets, which often have weak currencies when compared to the US dollar; high prices make PCs much less attractive.
It's not all bad news for the PC crowd. There were strong sales in the US, which may indicate an economic turnaround since the doldrums of 2010, when sales were at their worst. Tablets are still expected to impact on US PC sales in the coming months, but at a slower rate than elsewhere. But sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa took a beating - declining 13.7% overall - while weakness in the Chinese market and currency fluctuations in India and Indonesia negatively impacted sales in the Asia/Pacific region.