Figures released on Wednesday showed that the personal computer market shrank for the first time in more than a year due to frugality and a tablet computer craze led by Apple’s hot-selling iPads. Global personal computer (PC) shipments declined 3.2 per cent during the first three months of the year in the first slip since the recession ended some 18 months ago, according to industry tracker International Data Corporation.
Worldwide PC shipments totaled 84.3 million units during the quarter in a 1.1 per cent drop from the same three months last year, according to figures gathered by research group Gartner. Weak demand for consumer PCs was the biggest drag on the market, according to Gartner principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa.
“Low prices for consumer PCs, which had long stimulated growth, no longer attracted buyers,” Kitagawa said. “Instead, consumers turned their attention to media tablets and other consumer electronics.” After Apple’s second-generation iPad was released in February, many consumers either switched allegiances or simply held back from buying PCs, according to the analyst. Spikes in commodity and fuel prices, along with disruptions caused by the disaster in Japan, contributed to the break in momentum for the computer market, according to IDC.