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Well, it finally happened. According to newly compiled data from two separate market research firms, Gartner and International Data Corporation (IDC), Lenovo is now the top supplier of PCs in the world, overtaking Hewlett-Packard (HP) for pole position. While Gartner and IDC report a slightly different number of PC shipments for each OEM, both report Lenovo as having a leading 16.7 percent share of the market, versus HP's 16.3-16.4 percent share.
IDC said worldwide PC shipments dropped to 76 million units in the second quarter of 2013, a 10.9 percent decline from the same period a year ago. This marks the fifth consecutive quarter of declining shipments and the longest duration of decline in the PC market's history.
"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," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "In emerging markets, inexpensive tablets have become the first computing device for many people, who at best are deferring the purchase of a PC. This is also accounting for the collapse of the mini notebook market."
Of those shipments, Lenovo accounted for 12.67 million units, versus HP at 12.4 million (16.3 percent).
IDC painted a similar picture, noting that global PC shipments totaled 75.6 million units, down 11.4 percent compared to a year ago. However, IDC said it expects to see some growth in the second half of the year, adding that one positive sign is that HP and Dell saw growth improve compared to recent quarters.
"The U.S. market is beginning to reflect some of the Windows XP to Windows 7 transition we've been expecting in the commercial PC space, as evidenced by the strong growth in the enterprise-focused Dell PC business," said Bob O'Donnell, Program Vice President, Clients and Displays. "We're also starting to see more stabilization in shipments, which we think is a reflection of PC lifetimes finally starting to even out after a long period of gradual increase. The end result should be more PC replacements, even if consumers and companies are selective in making replacements and wait until PCs are older before replacing them."
Lenovo, meanwhile, was all smiles at being recognized by both firms as the top PC supplier in the world, saying that this marks the first time it's been the "clear global leader in PCs." Company chairman and CEO Yang Yuanquing said his company is grateful to its customers and global team for the achievement, adding that the battle for PC leadership will certainly go back and forth.
“The PC market is changing, but it still represents a $200 billion opportunity," Yuanqing added.