SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Global shipments of personal computers fell 9.8 percent last year, the worst contraction on record, and are likely to decline by 6.1 percent in 2014 due to lackluster demand in developing countries, according to market research firm IDC.
IDC had expected PC shipments to fall 10.1 percent last year but it said that the fourth quarter benefited from a slight boost as old computers running Microsoft's (MSFT.O) XP operating system, which the software company is due to stop supporting in April, were replaced.
"Emerging markets used to be a core driver of the PC market, as rising penetration among large populations boosted overall growth," said IDC analyst Loren Loverde. "At the moment, however, we're seeing emerging regions more affected by a weak economic environment as well as significant shifts in technology buying priorities."
Long-term growth in PC shipments is expected to remain just below zero, with shipments in 2018 expected to decline 0.2 percent, IDC said. Last week, IDC said that strong demand for smartphones in China and other developing countries would drive a 19 percent increase in global shipments of smartphones in 2014.
Reporting by Noel Randewich; Editing by Grant McCool