"Modest" PC sales in the final quarter of 2010 have been blamed on the boom in tablets, particularly the success of the Apple iPad.

Business analysts IDC and Gartner both reported that PC sales were much lower than expected; with just a 2.7 - 3.1 per cent year-on-year growth for the sector.

And it's obvious where the blame lies - firmly at Apple's door.

"Growth steadily slowed throughout 2010 as weakening demand and competition from the Apple iPad constrained PC shipments", said the IDC's research director, David Daoud.

"Overall, holiday PC sales were weak in many key regions due to the intensifying competition in consumer spending", added Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "Media tablets, such as the iPad, as well as other consumer electronic devices, such as game consoles, all competed against PCs".

Netbooks, in particular, are finding it increasingly difficult to compete with the new mobile form factor and Daoud only sees the PC slump getting worse in 2011.

"In addition to relatively high market penetration and a 'good-enough' computing experience with existing PCs, consumers are being more cautious with their purchases, and competing devices have been vying for consumer dollars", he said.

"This situation is likely to persist in 2011, if not worsen, as a wave of media tablets could put a dent in the traditional PC market".

When it came to manufacturers, Lenovo and Toshiba were the two that bucked the trend with around a 21 per cent and 12 per cent growth respectively.

But PC giants including HP and Acer recorded fallen sales year-on-year and Dell only recorded a "modest" increase.

Are you still in the market for a notebook or netbook, or have you got your eye on one of the new tablets shown off at CES? Let us know what you'll be buying in 2011 using the comments below.

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