The global PC market is showing signs of slowing down as businesses and consumers hold off on purchasing new machines and shift focus to tablet computers, according to two market research groups.

IDC said that global shipments were 80.56 million, a year-on-year fall of 3.2% from 83.2 million in the first quarter of 2010, and down more than 10% in the U.S. Meanwhile, Gartner estimated shipments of 84.3 million for the same period, which would amount to a 1.1% year-on-year decline from 85.1 million units worldwide and a 6.1% drop in the U.S.

The decline follows a record 26% growth during last year's first quarter, which was driven by people upgrading PCs and buying new computers with Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system. But a lot has happened since then with the emergence of so-called post-PC devices, which according to IDC offer a "good enough" computing experience to attract massive users. Higher fuel and commodity prices, along Japan's natural disasters, the uprisings in the Middle East, and of course the Intel Sandy Bridge delay are also believed to have played role in this quarter's decline.

Top 5 Vendors, United States PC Shipments, First Quarter 2011
(Preliminary) (Units Shipments are in thousands)








1 HP 4,345 27.0% 4,453 24.7% -2.4%
2 Dell 3,724 23.1% 4,220 23.4% -11.8%
3 Toshiba 1,663 10.3% 1,506 8.3% 10.4%
4 Apple 1,375 8.5% 1,254 7.0% 9.6%
5 Acer Group 1,331 8.3% 2,298 12.7% -42.1%
Others 3,681 22.8% 4,309 23.9% -14.6%
  All Vendors 16,118 100.0%


100.0% -10.7%

HP retained its position as the world's largest computer maker with 15.2 million units shipped, down 2.8%according to IDC estimates, while Dell came in second with a 1.8% drop to 10.3 million shipped computers. In third place Acer saw shipments fall 15.8% globally and a massive 42.1% in the U.S., showing the company's exposure to the shrinking interest in netbooks, which is also one of the reasons behind former CEO Gianfranco Lanci's recent departure.

Meanwhile, fourth-placed Lenovo showed considerable strength with a 16.3% increase in shipments to 8.2 million due to strong demand in China, while Toshiba's shipments increased 3.8% to 1.7 million.

Table data source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, April 13, 2011