* PC sales down 1.1 percent in Jan-March
* HP, Acer, Dell see dips
* Post-holiday decline, tablets, Japan blamed
* Gartner still sees annual growth
SEATTLE, April 13 Computer sales slid lower in
the first three months of this year for the first time since
2009 as shoppers suffered post-holiday shopping fatigue, Apple
Inc's (AAPL.O) iPad continued to attract buyers and Japan
focused on recovering from the earthquake and tsunami.
The world's biggest personal computer (PC) makers,
Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N), Acer Inc (2353.TW) and Dell Inc
DELL.O all saw year-on-year declines.
The dip is a warning sign for chipmaker Intel Corp (INTC.O)
and software giant Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), whose fortunes are
closely tied to growth in the PC market.
PC sales fell 1.1 percent in the first quarter to 84.3
million worldwide, according to tech research firm Gartner,
well short of its forecast for 3 percent growth.
The dip was the first since the second quarter of 2009,
when most of the world was still in the grip of economic
"Although the first quarter is traditionally a slow one for
PC sales, these shipment results indicate potential
sluggishness, not just a normal seasonal slowdown," said
Gartner, in a statement.
The research firm said sales were dragged down by a weak
consumer segment, as shoppers resisted low prices on PCs or
switched to buying tablet devices such as Apple's iPad
Business demand for computers was much stronger, said
Gartner, and likely to last another year as companies replace
Japan was a particularly weak spot, with PC sales falling
13 percent in the quarter, as people focused on getting back to
normal after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami rather than
spending money on new technology.
Gartner still expects worldwide PC sales to grow 10.5
percent to 388 million units this year, although that is well
below its forecast of 15.9 percent growth, made in November.
(Reporting by Bill Rigby; Editing by Bernard Orr)