PC shipments fall flat in second half of 2012

PC laptop
Declining interest in PCs can be attributed to tablets and smartphones

Computers permeate every aspect of our lives, but that doesn't mean they can't have a slow couple of years.

The latest report from technology research firm Gartner indicates that global sales of PCs are stuck in a rut of non-growth, though they aren't exactly plummeting.

In the second quarter of 2012, Gartner reports, total worldwide PC sales hit 87.5 million units.

That number is down only 0.1 percent year-over-year, which in and of itself is hardly worrying.

But Q2 2012 also represented the seventh consecutive quarter in which global PC sales failed to grow or achieved only single-digit growth.

And in the U.S., PC sales were down, dropping 5.7 percent to 15.9 million units.

Consumers aren't interested in PC sales

Gartner's Principal Analyst, Mikako Kitagawa, said in the report that PC sales are slowing because consumers simply aren't interested in PCs.

"Uncertainties in the economy in various regions, as well as consumers' low interest in PC purchases, were some of the key influencers of slow PC shipment growth," she noted.

"Despite the high expectations for the thin and light notebook segment, Ultrabooks, shipment volume was small and little impact on overall shipment growth."

Kitagawa said the Ultrabook segment, which is reportedly on the rise, "is still in an early adopter's stage."

Meanwhile, the bevy of other devices available and the ubiquity of PCs are helping to stall PC sales.

"Consumers are less interested in spending on PCs as there are other technology product and services, such as the latest smartphones and media tablets that they are purchasing," Kitagawa said.

"This is more of a trend in the mature market as PCs are highly saturated in these markets."

HP continues to lead in the PC market, accounting for 14.9 percent of global sales, but its shipments decline 12.1 percent in Q2.

Previous research from the NPD Group claimed that back-to-school shopping and the introduction of Windows 8 will provide a boost later this year, so PC makers still have that to look forward to at least.

Via HotHardware, Gartner

Michael Rougeau

Michael Rougeau is a former freelance news writer for TechRadar. Studying at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Northeastern University, Michael has bylines at Kotaku, 1UP, G4, Complex Magazine, Digital Trends, GamesRadar, GameSpot, IFC, Animal New York, @Gamer, Inside the Magic, Comic Book Resources, Zap2It, TabTimes, GameZone, Cheat Code Central, Gameshark, Gameranx, The Industry, Debonair Mag, Kombo, and others.

Micheal also spent time as the Games Editor for Playboy.com, and was the managing editor at GameSpot before becoming an Animal Care Manager for Wags and Walks.