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According to the latest report from Gartner, the PC industry has declined in the third quarter of 2013 as well. Global PC shipments in the third quarter declined 8.6% on a year-over-year basis to 80.3 million. However, PC shipments in the U.S. increased 3.5% year over year.

Gartner said that the decline in global PC shipments was the result of a shift in consumer preferences toward tablets in both mature and emerging markets. The report also suggested that the widespread availability of economical Android-based tablets in emerging markets impacted PC sales.

In the third quarter of 2013, Lenovo maintained its lead in the global PC market with 17.6% market share, which increased from 15.7% in the year-ago period and 16.7% sequentially. PC shipments by Lenovo recorded a year-over-year increase of 2.8%.

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ - Analyst Report) and Dell also maintained their positions as the second and third largest players, respectively. Both the PC vendors witnessed a year-over-year increase in market share.

Hewlett-Packard’s third-quarter market share increased from 15.4% in the third quarter of 2012 to 17.1%. The company’s shipments rose 1.5% year over year.

Dell saw a rise in market share from 10.5% in the third quarter of 2012 to 11.6% in the last quarter. The company’s shipments rose 1.0% year over year in the third quarter. However, these moderate increases in shipments were more than offset by 22.6% and 22.5% declines at Acer Group and Asus, respectively.

Despite the sixth consecutive quarter of decline in PC shipments, it is worth mentioning that the PC shipment declines have moderated from the second quarter of 2013. PC shipments in the second quarter declined 10.9% year over year. Moreover, another encouraging factor is that PC shipments have increased 5.7% sequentially in the third quarter.

Additionally, U.S. PC shipments recorded a 3.5% increase on a year-over-year basis. In the U.S., Hewlett-Packard maintained its lead in the market with 26.9% market share while Dell had a 21.0% market share and Apple (AAPL - Analyst Report) came in third with 13.4% share.

It is worth mentioning that among the top three vendors only Apple witnessed a year-over-year decline in PC shipments (down 2.3% year over year) and market share (13.4% versus 14.2%). Hewlett-Packard’s market share increased moderately from 26.6% in the third quarter of 2012 to 26.9% with shipments rising 4.5%. Although Dell’s market share remained stagnant at 21.0% on a year-over-year basis, its shipments rose 3.3%.   

On a geographic basis, PC shipments in the EMEA region came in at 22.4 million units, down 13.7% from the same period last year. The Asia/Pacific recorded a decline of 11.2%, primarily due to currency fluctuations in India and Indonesia. Moreover, PC vendors remained cautious ahead of the launch of Windows 8.1 models based on Intel's (INTC - Analyst Report) Bay Trail.

We believe that the emergence and rapid adoption of handheld computing devices from Apple, Samsung and other Asian companies are cannibalizing PC sales and this trend may be expected to continue. Prominent PC companies are also investing in tablets and other handheld computing devices which should help them to counter this decline.

Currently, Apple carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Intel carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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