The world bought fewer PCs than expected in the third quarter of 2012, with analysts agreeing that shipments were down by around 8 per cent compared to the same quarter in 2011.

Both Gartner and IDC say that the downsurge in computer sales is largely down to the imminent arrival of Windows 8, as retailers try to clear out Windows 7 stock and consumers hang on for the next generation hardware.

The US market was down by more than analysts had anticipated though; experts thought that computer sales would be down by 9.5 per cent but they actually fell by 12.4 per cent.

Uninspired

Meanwhile Gartner's research director Ranjit Atwal blamed lack of innovation in computing for a shambolic quarter in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

He said, "After two consecutive quarters of growth, this quarter saw the worst decline in EMEA PC shipments over the past four years."

Dell and HP both lost market share over the three months, while Lenovo and Asus gained on their rivals.

Gartner went as far as to declare Lenovo the top shipping computer maker in the world, although IDC still thinks HP has the edge.

Despite seeing bright spots in computing's future, IDC's experts warned that Windows 8 won't solve all manufacturers' problems.

Jay Chou, senior analyst at IDC explained, "PCs are going through a severe slump... the hard question of what is the 'it' product for PCs remain unanswered.

"While ultrabook prices have come down a little, there are still some significant challenges that will greet Windows 8 in the coming quarter."

Shoppers' heads have been turned away from PCs (including desktops, notebooks and laptops) in the direction of other devices like smartphones and tablets.

From Gartner, IDC via The Guardian