Growth in personal computer shipments worldwide slowed down sharply in the fourth quarter, expanding 3.1 percent over the year before, under growing competition from other media devices, according to the Gartner research firm.
PC shipments in the United States actually fell 6.6 percent in the quarter compared to the last three months of 2009 as the top three manufacturers -- HP, Dell and Acer -- all reported fewer shipments in the U.S.
Shipments worldwide and in the U.S. expanded from the third quarter to the fourth, and Gartner said PC shipments overall showed a strong recovery over the full year, growing 13.8 percent over the depressed 2009 figures.
By The Numbers: Global Chip Sales.
But the fourth quarter slowdown in PC shipment growth belies improvements in the broader retail and IT economy. Gartner said that is at least in part because of the growing popularity of the Apple iPad, Amazon’s Kindle and similar portable e-reader devices.
“Overall, holiday PC sales were weak in many key regions due to the intensifying competition in consumer spending,” said Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa. “Media tablets, as well as other consumer electronic devices, such as game consoles, all competed against PCs.”
Corporate spending on replacement desktop PCs is growing, Gartner said, but the consumer move to smaller, lighter devices likely will mean fewer of the larger PC shipments moving in distribution channels.