PC sales just fell off a cliff -- the worst quarterly decline ever recorded

Credit:Paul Skele via Flickr

Still don't believe we're in a post-PC world?

This might change your mind. In the first quarter of 2013, PC sales dropped 13.9 percent compared with a year ago, according to stats just released by IDC.

That's the steepest decline since the firm began tracking quarterly PC sales back in 1994. It's also a lot worse than IDC's estimate of a 7.7% decline.

Consumers are shifting more of their spend to tablets and smartphones, mini-notebooks are not picking up the slack, and Windows 8 isn't sparking interest, the firm says. IDC also notes that "The PC industry is struggling to identify innovations that differentiate PCs from other products and inspire consumers to buy, and instead is meeting significant resistance to changes perceived as cumbersome or costly."

Ouch.

Every single one of the top five PC makers saw a double-digit decline except for Lenovo, which looks like a winner with zero growth. (See chart below.)

As Infoworld's Galen Gruman just pointed out via Twitter, the IDC data also showed a 7.5% decline in Mac sales in the United States. That shows that the decline isn't just about Windows 8. It's a secular shift toward more portable computing -- tablets and smartphones instead of PCs.

The PC isn't dead, but it sure doesn't look like a great market to be in right now. Microsoft isn't dead, but the transition to a services company can't happen fast enough.

Here's the bad news -- shipments are in millions of units.

Vendor Q1'13 Shipments Q1'12 Shipments Growth
HP 11,997 15,726 -23.7%
Lenovo 11,700 11,705 0.0%
Dell 9,010 10,110 -10.9%
Acer 6,150 8,952 -31.3%
ASUS 4,363 5,401 -19.2%
TOTAL 76,294 88,635 -13.9%
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