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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Computers

Global PC market still weak despite rebound in some markets

Global shipments drop in third quarter despite rebound in North America and Western Europe and tablet saturation, market researchers report.


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Despite a drop in shipments, consumer interest appears to be slowly returning to PCs. CNET

The global PC market is still ailing, despite a rebound in some markets and waning consumer interest in tablets.

Following a 6 percent decline in the second quarter, worldwide shipments of personal computers for the quarter ended September 30 are expected to total 79.4 million units, a 0.5 percent drop from the year-ago quarter, according to preliminary results reported Wednesday by market researcher Gartner.

Still, "Consumers' attention is slowly going back to PC purchases as tablet adoption peaked with mainstream consumers," Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, said in a statement. "The transition from PCs to tablets has faded as tablet penetration has reached the 40 percent to 50 percent range."

Meanwhile, IDC reported that shipments shrank to 78.5 million units, or a decline of 1.7 percent, during the same period, smaller than the 4.1 percent decline the market researcher previously predicted.

"Although shipments did not decline as much as feared, these preliminary results still show that 3Q14 was one of the weaker calendar third quarters on record in terms of sequential growth," Jay Chou, senior IDC research analyst, said in a statement. "The third quarter has historically been driven by back-to-school sales and renewed business purchasing, which were weaker than normal this year."

PC sales increased in North America and Western Europe, but those gains were offset by a slowing consumer and government spending interest in Asia. About 17.3 million PCs were shipped in the US, a 4.3 percent increase over the year ago period, while the Asian market accounted for 26.2 million units shipped, a decline of 5.3 percent, IDC reported.

The top five PC makers increased their global market shares at the expense of smaller vendors, according to IDC figures. Lenovo retained its No. 1 position by capturing 20 percent of the worldwide market, an 11 percent increase over the year ago quarter. Hewlett-Packard came in a close second with an 18.8 percent share on 5.1 percent growth. Dell shipments rose 9.7 percent to a 13 percent market share. Rounding out the top five were Acer and Apple, which accounted for 8.4 percent and 6.3 percent of the market, respectively.

PC demand is expected to get a boost from next year's release of the Windows "Threshold" operating system, which was recently christened " Windows 10 ."