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UPDATED: Australian PC market slumps in Q1

Decline is expected to continue throughout the year as tablet computers steal market share

As tablet sales increase, PC sales are dropping

As tablet sales increase, PC sales are dropping

Australian consumers delayed or skipped buying new PCs in the first calendar quarter of 2013 as tablets rise in popularity, according to new IDC research. The PC market pain is also likely to continue for the rest of the year with IDC predicting a decline of 15 per cent this year over 2012.

Around 1.07 million PCs were sold in Q1 in Australia, a 21 per cent year-on-year decline. PC sales in New Zealand were also down by 27 per cent year-on-year with 140,000 units shipped.

“The softness in PC sales across the consumer and commercial space reflects a declining demand for PCs, said Amy Cheah, market analyst at IDC Australia said in a statement.

Tablets have become the “more common alternative for mobile access” and vendors “took a more cautious approach this quarter, cutting back on shipments given the slow moving inventory situation,” Cheah said.

Cheah said 1.01 million tablet computers were sold in Australia during the first quarter. These included sub-16 inch slate forms with or without detachable keyboards.

Related: 14,000 QLD kids to get Acer tablets.

PC sales in commercial markets in Q1 were soft, apart from education, where major PC rollouts took place in New South Wales and Queensland. Large corporate and government PC tenders have reduced considerably over the past year and are smaller in volume, IDC said.

“The outlook for the PC market is looking rather gloomy for the rest of 2013, said Cheah.

“Channels are increasingly conservative, limiting product offering as a way to minimise their exposure to the PC market.

“With the upcoming Intel and AMD processors refresh in June, there will be extra caution to avoid building up on inventory of previous generation PCs, particularly in Australia as local channels close off the end of financial year.”

HP took the number one position in the PC market in Q1, 2013, with a 19 per cent share, followed by Apple with 18 per cent and Dell with 15 per cent. Lenovo (11 per cent) and Toshiba (9 per cent) rounded were placed fourth and fifth respectively.

According to IDC, Apple, Lenovo and Acer, which have a strong presence in education, were the winners in Q1.

In New Zealand, HP grabbed a 34 per cent share of the PC market in Q1, 2013, way ahead of Apple at number two with a 15 per cent share and Acer with 8 per cent.

Cheah said that PC sales will continue to decline over the next few years as tablets steal market share.

"IDC forecasts have indicated that 2013 Q2 will be the point where tablets will overtake PC sales," Cheah said.

But despite the decline in sales, Cheah didn't expect PCs to become obsolete in the future as consumes and businesses will continue to use them because they are inexpensive and can carry out "complex tasks that a tablet is unable to handle."

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