While the number isn't pretty, it's notably better than the 11.4% drop IDC estimated for Q2, as well as the firm's respective Q3 and full-year forecasts of -9.5% and -9.7%. Easier comps helped out a bit (shipments fell 8.6% Y/Y a year ago), as did "channel intake of Windows 8.1-based systems" in September. (PR)
As was the case in Q2, U.S. and enterprise were areas of strength. U.S. shipments only fell 0.2%, and enterprise volumes saw a "slight uptick." But tablet cannibalization led Asia-Pac (exc. Japan) shipments to fall 8.8%. EMEA declined in-line with expectations, while Japan outperformed.
The mix shift is a positive for H-P (HPQ - 27% U.S. share vs. 17.1% global share), Intel (INTC - higher ASPs), and Microsoft (MSFT - higher ASPs and less piracy). It hurts Lenovo (LNVGY.PK), but the Chinese firm was still the market's top vendor, and saw its global share rise 160 bps Y/Y to 17.3%.
H-P was #2; its share rose 130 bps. #3 Dell, which has gotten more aggressive with its pricing, saw its share rise 90 bps to 11.7%.
Apple's (AAPL) U.S. PC share, which has been rising in recent years, fell 140 bps to 11.6%; the enterprise mix shift and pending MacBook Pro/Mac OS X refreshes likely played roles.
Update: Gartner thinks shipments fell 8.6% Y/Y.