Gartner has released preliminary data for worldwide and U.S. PC shipments for 4Q13 as well as all of 2013. This was the seventh consecutive quarter of PC shipment decline.
The complete press release from Gartner has their observations and analysis.
1. Of particular interest is the way Gartner continues to couch the data for U.S. shipments of PCs, which includes "desk-based PCs and mobile PCs, including mini-notebooks but not media tablets such as the iPad." Here is the 4Q13 U.S. shipments of PCs.
Note that when it comes to citing the overall decline in PC shipmentss in the U.S., the average of -7.5 percent factors in the +28.5 percent growth of Macs. If that Apple number were omitted, the percent decline for only PCs alone would be significantly worse, in the vicinity of -8.7 percent.
2. Worldwide, Apple doesn't make it into Gartner's top five where the decline overall in the 4th quarter was -6.9 percent. Interestingly, Gartner's principle analyst Mikako Kitagawa said, "Although PC shipments continued to decline in the worldwide market in the fourth quarter, we increasingly believe markets, such as the U.S., have bottomed out as the adjustment to the installed base slows." Given the explosive sales of tablets to customers in the U.S. who no longer need PCs, this is a remarkable observation.
3. For all of 2013, PC shipments declined -10.0 percent, from 351 million in 2012 to about 316 million. "This is the worst decline in PC market history," Gartner said. What the data doesn't show is the year over year shipments for Macs, worldwide. That's a different analysis. For example, my own informal data shows that for Apple's Fiscal 2013, total sales declined to 16.42 million from 2012's 18.1 million.
Finally, the surge in Mac shipments in the U.S., year over year, (for the quarter anyway) would seem to suggest that that Apple has found a market niche that isn't being affected by the loss in interest in PCs. ( Recall lthe 4th calendar quarter is the holiday quarter.) It could be that customers associate the ease of use of their iPads with the ease of use of Macs. In turn, that suggests that Apple will continue to innovate and invest in OS X and Macs, as it has done with the new Mac Pro. In any case, this will be an interesting trend to watch.