PC sales hit rock bottom in 2013 as tablet dominance continues

Laptops, notebooks and ultrabooks are taking the reigns from desktop PCs

According to preliminary results from Gartner, PC shipments totaled 82.6 million units in the fourth quarter of 2013, a 6.9 per cent decline from the fourth quarter of 2012.

Gartner believes that despite a decline in shipments, the market in regions such as the US and Europe have "bottomed out" - that is, fallen as low as it can go - as consumers cease to seek upgrades on their computers as rapidly as in the past.

Strong growth in tablet sales has "negatively impacted" PC growth in emerging markets, where the first connected device for most consumers comes in the form of a smartphone, followed shortly by their first computing device being a tablet. As such, PCs are seeing a slowed adoption rate in these markets.

Tablets over PCs

In the US, PC shipments declined by 7.5 per cent. Principal analyst at Gartner, Mikako Mitagawa, put this down tablets being the "hottest holiday item" but notebooks, all-in-one computers and ultrabooks have drawn shopper's attention, showing where a possible recovery may be stemming from in 2014.

PCs in the EMEA markets were driven by the professional market, where computers were replaced by only on a needed basis as companies finalised spending. Once again, tablets, especially Android tablets, were popular holiday gifts.

The largest decline occurred in the Asia/Pacific market, which saw a 9.8 per cent decline. Alternative markets, such as smartphones, saw increased spending, as consumers looked to cheaper devices that could tailor to their entertainment needs.

It's not all doom and gloom for the PC market, though. IDC is predicting a 3.8 percent decline in PC shipments for 2014 this year, and then growth of less than 1 percent in 2015.