Personal computer sales declined for the fifth consecutive quarter this year, extending the longest sales slump for the devices on record.

Worldwide, 76 million new computers were sold between April and June, a 10.9 per cent drop from the number of units shipped in the same period last year, technology research company Gartner Inc. said Thursday.

"This marks the fifth consecutive quarter of declining shipments, which is the longest duration of decline in the PC market's history," the company said in a release. 

Tablets sap demand

Computer sales were growing exponentially since Macintosh and then Windows-powered models first hit the market in the 1980s. But the recent prevalence of mobile phones and tablets is now eating into demand for conventional desktop computers and even laptops.

"We are seeing the PC market reduction directly tied to the shrinking installed base of PCs, as inexpensive tablets displace the low-end machines used primarily for consumption in mature and developed markets," Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa said.

Sales were down in all regions of the world, but Gartner says in the developing world especially, people are forgoing clunky PCs in favour of mobile and comparatively inexpensive touchscreen tablets.

The PC market is dominated by two names, Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo. (Lenovo is a Chinese company that bought former market leader IBM's PC business in 2005.)

Three out of every 10 computers sold worldwide are from one of those two brands. Lenovo passed HP in total shipments during the quarter, selling 12,677,265 units, a smidgen more than HP's 12,402,887

In the U.S. market (which includes Canadian data) sales fared comparatively better. PC shipments totaled 15 million units in the second quarter of 2013, a 1.4 per cent decline from the same time last year. This decline was less than that seen in the previous seven quarters, and the market grew 8.5 per cent sequentially, Gartner said.

"While Windows 8 has been blamed by some as the reason for the PC market's decline, we believe this is unfounded as it does not explain the sustained decline in PC shipments," Kitagawa said.