Personal computer sales sank even further during the holiday shopping season, capping the steepest annual decline in PC shipments since desktop and laptop machines began to appear on people’s wish lists decades ago, the Associated Press reports.
The fourth-quarter numbers released Thursday by the research firms Gartner Inc. and International Data Corp. serve as the latest testament to the growing popularity of smartphones and tablet computers. The mobile devices are typically less expensive than PCs and more convenient to use than clunky desktops, making them appealing alternatives to go online for work, entertainment, information and communications.
Gartner cited the mobile shift as the main reason for a 7 percent drop in worldwide PC sales from the previous year during the three months ending in December, a period when the demand for electronics is at its peak. It marks the seventh consecutive quarter of decreasing PC sales.
IDC came up with a slightly different figure. By its calculations, worldwide PC shipments slipped by nearly 6 percent during the fourth quarter.
For all of last year, PC sales plunged 10 percent, according to both Gartner and IDC. Shipments of desktop and laptop computers had never slipped by more than 4 percent in any other previous year.