Christmas PC sales fell for the first time

Holiday sales of PCs fell for the first time in more than five years, according to tech industry tracker IDC.

The statistics showed that Windows 8 failed to motivate cash strapped buyers. Many just decided to keep their old workhorse PCs for another year.

The slump caps a miserable year for PC makers such as HP, Lenovo and Dell, which saw the first annual decline for more than a decade. The hope had been that Windows 8 would force many users to buy a new PC. The software was pretty good, but it did not need a new PC to run and those who did want it just installed it without buying new hardware.

Aaron Rakers, an analyst at Stifel, Nicolaus told Reuters that until Windows 8 is fully installed and prices start to come down, the PC market will not be great.

He warned against counting out Windows 8. Rakers said that as consumers grow more comfortable with its tile-based interface and touch features it will eventually take off.

IDC said that in the past, a new operating system from Microsoft tended to stimulate a spurt of PC sales. However, PC makers did not get enough attractive machines into the market.

Jay Chou, senior research analyst at IDC blamed PC vendors for getting lost promoting touch-centric PCs. He thinks they should have stressed other features in Windows.

“As Windows 8 matures, and other corresponding variables such as Ultrabook pricing continue to drop, hopefully the PC market can see a reset in both messaging and demand in 2013,” said Chou.

PC makers sold 89.8 million units worldwide in the fourth quarter of last year, down 6.4 percent from the time last year. This is the worst performance for more than five years and is probably due to the worst recession since World War II.