Global shipments of personal computers fell 9.8% last year, according to International Data Corporation’s latest tracker, as consumers increasingly turned to smartphones and tablet devices.

IDC said the figure marked the “most severe contraction on record”, despite it being slightly lower than the 10.1% decline previously forecast.

Overall around 315 million computers - including desktop and laptop devices - were shipped last year, according to IDC.

Around of 182 million of those went to emerging markets, down 11.3% year on year.

Roughly 133 million PCs went to mature markets like Europe and the US, a 7.6% decline on last year; though the figure was slightly better than expected towards the end of 2013.

IDC said this shift could have been caused by consumers replacing their Windows XP-based machines, however this trend was unlikely to last long.

It forecasts a continued decline in PC sales in the years ahead, predicting a 6.1% fall in global shipments this year and a 0.2% fall in 2015.