Holiday PC sales fall for first time in 5 years

A Lenovo convertible Ultrabook at the Consumer Electronics Show.
(Julie Jacobson / Associated Press)

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.


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“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.


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