For the first time in half a decade, PC sales fell during the holiday shopping season as demand for smartphones and tablets continued to rise and Windows 8 machines failed to catch on with consumers.
For the fourth quarter, worldwide PC sales stood at 89.8 million, which was down 6.4% compared with the same quarter in 2011, according to IDC, a tech industry analysis firm. Sales for the year also fell, down from nearly 364 million in 2011 to 352 million in 2012 -- a 3.2% decline.
The U.S. market also saw a decline of 4.5% in the fourth quarter and a 7% dip for the year.
"Consumers as well as PC vendors and distribution channels continued to be diverted from PC sales by ongoing demand for tablets and smartphones," IDC said in its report.
The fourth-quarter decline in PC sales came despite the launch of Windows 8, Microsoft's latest operating system. Typically, new Windows launches spur sales, but even Windows 8 couldn't help the PC sector.
Windows 8's "impact did not quickly change recently sluggish PC demand, and the PC market continued to take a back seat to competing devices and sustained economic woes," IDC said.