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By NBF News
Listen to article Sales in the personal computer (PC) market fell by 4.9 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2012, when compared to the same quarter in 2011, as the introduction of Windows 8 failed to invigorate the market and tablets computers continue to grow, according to figures from Gartner.

The worldwide market for PCs in 2012, hit 352 million units – down from 365 million in 2011 – with HP topping the chart with 56 million shipments, to take a 16 per cent market share. Lenovo placed second at 14.8 per cent of the market with sales of 52 million devices, up from 45 million.

Gartner is the latest firm to see a decline in worldwide sales, after similar reports from IDC last week, with the popularity of tablets cited as a major cause of this slump, as devices like the iPad or Nexus 7 prove more popular than laptops or PCs. 'There are fundamental changes happening in the market and the fact that there's been a 5 per cent decline is indicative of where the market is headed as consumers move away from PCs to tablets,' said Gartner analyst, Ranjit Atwal.

'We're seeing that people are choosing to use smartphones and tablets as their own device and that PCs are becoming more communal. For vendors, this means they are losing their ability to make profit based on volumes and need to focus more on value. However, this is proving difficult as even the introduction of Windows 8 has failed to boost the market, as software becomes the key focus for enterprises' IT strategies, giving Apple an upper hand.

'Historically PCs were what enterprises focused on but now they are focusing on the delivery of applications on the best platform. So this means desktops are used more to supplement tablet and smartphones, which is a new mindset,' said Atwal. 'Vendors are right to transition to touch, but it's not a new thing and it takes time to become intuitive,' he added.

Overall, HP retained its top shipment crown with Lenovo having ceded top spot last quarter to the Chinese vendor by shipping 14.6 million devices, giving it a market share of 16.2 per cent. Lenovo saw its market share grow the most year- on-year, though, at 8.2 per cent growth rate to 13 million sales. Dell was the biggest loser, as sales slumped by 20 per cent from 11.6 million in Q4 2011 to 9.2 million in Q4 2012.

'We expect the slowdown to continue in the first quarter of 2013, as the PC market becomes smaller.PC vendors could well find it hard to shift to a value proposition,'added Atwal.