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Global PC market continues nosedive in third quarter

Continued low demand among consumers contributes to a 5.7 percent decline in shipments, Gartner finds.

We aren't buying computers as frequently as we used to.

The global PC market continued its downward spiral in the third quarter, registering its eighth consecutive quarter of declining shipments, its longest slump in the PC industry's history.

PC makers shipped 68.9 million personal computers in the quarter, a 5.7 percent decline from a year ago, according to numbers released Tuesday by research firm Gartner. The quarter's poor performance was blamed on weak back-to-school demand and continued low demand among consumers, especially in emerging markets.

"The majority of consumers own, and use, at least three different types of devices in mature markets," Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, said in a statement. "Among these devices, the PC is not a high priority device for the majority of consumers, so they do not feel the need to upgrade their PCs as often as they used to. Some may never decide to upgrade to a PC again."

The PC market has been plummeting for the past several years as more consumers have opted for smartphones and tablets over traditional desktops and laptops. At the same time, more people have hung onto their PCs longer rather than refreshing them every few years.