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Terrible Notebook Sales Expected in Q3, Except Apple

Apple may be falling behind Android when it comes to controlling the smartphone market, but it’s certainly prevailing when it comes to laptop sales. Providing yet another piece of evidence that the PC industry is in its demise, IHS reports that display panel shipments for PCs have fallen over the summer -- resulting from decreased demand for notebooks across the market. But while most notebook makers are struggling to stay alive in today’s mobile-focused market, Apple has managed to increase its shipments on an annual basis thanks to the success of its MacBook Air.

New figures from IHS show that LCD panel shipments in July 2013 only amounted for 12.9 million units, which is down from the 19.3 million units that were shipped during the same month in 2012. On a year-over-year basis, major vendors including Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP and Lenovo, among others, are all cutting demand compared to July 2012, while Apple has raised its shipments to meet MacBook Air demand. Apple increased their panel purchases by 76 percent, with 1.8 million units ordered, as Acer posted the biggest decline with orders plunging by 53 percent.

MORE: Best & Worst Notebook Brands 2013

IHS’ Ricky Park, senior manager for large-area displays at IHS, notes that most brands usually increase their purchases of LCD panels during the third quarter as they prepare to launch new models during the second half of the year. This year, however, many brands are stuck with large panel inventory surpluses because of weak PC sales in the first half of the year.

In fact, the research firm described the second quarter of 2013 as “terrible” for the overall PC market, revealing that worldwide shipments in Q2 2013 shrunk by 5.1 percent compared to the first three months of the year. According to IHS, this marks the first time the PC industry has experience a sequential decline since 2002.

This isn’t the first time IHS has released troubling PC industry sales figures. Earlier this year, the analysis company revealed that PCs had seen their biggest sales decline in nearly two decades, which IHS partially attributed to Windows 8’s lukewarm reception. The new report comes just as Microsoft is gearing up to launch its first major update to Windows 8 known as Windows 8.1, which the company hopes will spark interest in new Windows 8 devices. 

Leading up to Windows 8.1’s release in October, many PC vendors including ASUS, Toshiba and Lenovo have revealed their new lineup of Windows 8 ultrabooks and convertible PCs at this year’s IFA in Berlin. Meanwhile, Apple is rumored to release its next OS X update known as 10.9 Mavericks in October as well, although this hasn’t been confirmed.