PC sales fell 14 percent in the first three months of the year in what is the biggest decline in two decades.
Total worldwide PC sales fell 14 percent to 76.3 million units in the first quarter, IDC said exceeding its forecast of a 7.7 per cent drop. It was the fourth consecutive quarter of declines.
It is also the lowest level since the middle of 2009, according to competing beancounters at Gartner, which published its own figures showing an 11 percent decline.
Gartner and IDC say that the sales drop has been caused by the death of netbooks which seem to have been replaced by tablets. Consumers are now more interested in buying smartphones than owning new PCs.
What has propped the PC market up is emerging markets, but even this has not been a strong growth area for PC vendors.
IDC claimed that Windows 8 deterred potential PC buyers, because people felt they could not afford touch screen models.
This was a mistake because the system runs equally well on standard PCs and laptops, but it looks like Microsoft cocked up by emphasing the use of touch in its designs and adverts, IDC said.
Jay Chou, senior research analyst with the IDC unit that tracks PC sales, said that new Microsoft operating systems usually boost PC sales, but the lukewarm reception for Windows 8 will likely mean an even greater drop in the market this year.
HP saw a 24 percent decline in sales in the quarter, but narrowly held on to its title of top global PC supplier, with 15.7 percent market share.
Lenovo kept sales flat and is now just behind HP with a 15.3 percent global share.
Dell, along with rivals Acer and Asustek, all saw double-digit declines in PC sales. Apple’s PC sales fell 7.5 percent in the quarter.