gartnerWorldwide PC sales declined 4.9% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2012, as consumers moved their computer use towards tablets.

Gartner said that PC shipments totalled 90.37m in Q4, down from 95.02m units in the last quarter of 2011. The figures come as the global economy continues to stutter but Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa said that changes in the use of technology were instead to blame for the decline. “Tablets have dramatically changed the device landscape for PCs, not so much by ‘cannibalising’ PC sales, but by causing PC users to shift consumption to tablets rather than replacing older PCs,”  Kitagawa said.

“Whereas as once we imagined a world in which individual users would have both a PC and a tablet as personal devices, we increasingly suspect that most individuals will shift consumption activity to a personal tablet and perform creative and administrative tasks on a shared PC.”

Gartner added that the launch of Windows 8 did not have a “significant impact” on PC shipments in the fourth quarter, with some stores claiming sales were weak.