As more and more people around the world go online, sales of PCs are still increasing. But the rate was slower than analysts expected, in part due to the rising popularity of the iPad and waning sales of the mini Notebook.
The sluggish economy and consumer fatigue were also to blame, analysts said.
Overall worldwide PC shipments grew 2.7 percent year-on-year during the fourth quarter, with Gartner reporting a slightly larger 3.1 percent as part of its quarterly report. However, both numbers fell short of the firms' expectations, which IDC had predicted at 5.5 percent and Gartner at 4.8 percent.
Despite a holiday season marked by a long promotion cycle and highly competitive price points, the global PC market saw shipments rise only a modest 2.7% year on year during the fourth quarter of 2010, according to Quarterly PC Tracker.
The United States market declined 4.8% year on year, while other regions with the exception of Asia/Pacific continued to experience market expansion, albeit at a slower pace than in recent quarters.
"The US market was expected to shrink year over year given the exploding growth experienced in the fourth quarter of 2009. Growth steadily slowed throughout 2010 as weakening demand and competition from the Apple iPad constrained PC shipments. In addition to relatively high market penetration and a 'good-enough' computing experience with existing PCs, consumers are being more cautious with their purchases and competing devices have been vying for consumer dollars. This situation is likely to persist in 2011, if not worsen, as a wave of Media Tablets could put a dent in the traditional PC market," said David Daoud, research director, US Quarterly PC Tracker and Personal Computing.
"Consumer fatigue is playing an important role in many markets as the Mini Notebook surge wanes and consumers watch their spending and evaluate other products," said Jay Chou, research analyst, Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker.