Windows XP migration offset weak PC demand in first quarter

Windows XP
Upgrades are a helping hand, but not a lifeline

Migration from Windows XP (which has passed its security support deadline) to newer computers has helped stave off some of the decline in the PC market for the first quarter of this year.

There were 73.4 million shipments of PCs throughout the world in the first three months of 2014, according to the latest report by IDC.

This is a -4.4 per cent decline on the previous year, but it's not as bad as the -5.3 per cent decline analysts predicted.

Acer saw the sharpest losses at -20.2 per cent, followed by ASUS at -8.1 per cent. Lenovo defied the rest of the market with 10.5 per cent growth, followed by HP and Dell with 4.7 per cent and 9.3 per cent growth respectively.

No market rebound

As many individuals and businesses scrambled to upgrade from Windows XP before the April 8 deadline, the PC market receive a last-minute push, especially in Japan.

While that takes the edge off the figures, the reality is that PC shipments are continuing to fall, and IDC analysts believe the XP replacement boost is a passing one, and not a sign of a market rebound.

"Worldwide PC shipments have now declined for eight consecutive quarters as a result of shifting technology usage and competition (notably with tablets & smartphones) as well as economic pressures (including high unemployment, slow growth & investment, tight credit, and currency fluctuations) related to the Great Recession, sovereign debt crises, and their related impact on international trade," said Loren Loverde, VP of Worldwide PC Trackers at IDC.