STAMFORD: Global shipments of PCs have fallen for the fifth quarter in succession as more and more consumers opted to use cheaper tablet devices to go online, latest figures have shown.

Gartner, the research company, reported that 76m units were shipped worldwide in the second quarter of 2013, representing a 10.9% decline on the same period a year earlier. Overall sales were down in all regions.

"In emerging markets, inexpensive tablets have become the first computing device for many people, who at best are deferring the purchase of a PC," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "This is also accounting for the collapse of the mini notebook market."

Figures from IDC, another research firm covering this sector, indicated a similar decline, of 11.4%. Loren Loverde, an IDC analyst, observed that the industry's previously stated aim of having every person own a PC was no longer realistic.

"Now we're thinking more conservatively that it's going to be one tablet per person and one PC per family," he told Bloomberg.

Within this declining market, Lenovo has become the leading brand as its sales dipped just 0.6% during the quarter, enabling it to overtake HP whose sales were down 4.8%.

Lenovo now commands a 16.7% market share, ahead of HP on 16.3% and Dell on 11.8%.

"We definitely see some positive signs from our commercial business," Wong Wai Ming, Lenovo's chief financial officer, told the Financial Times.

Sales to business users contributed to Lenovo's strong US performance, with the company having acquired IBM's PC unit in 2005. Sales were up 19.6% over the year compared to an overall decline of 1.4% in US PC shipments.

Loverde remarked that the US figures were the biggest news. "We've been looking for a turning point in shipments," he said. "It's good that it wasn't any worse."

Data sourced from Financial Times, Bloomberg; additional content by Warc staff