PC Shipments Continue to Disappoint

Pulkit Chandna

PC shipments continued to disappoint in the second quarter of 2012, declining 0.1 percent from the same period last year. This was, according to Gartner’s Mikako Kitagawa, the seventh successive quarter of “flat to single-digit growth” for the global PC industry. Gartner is not alone, though, as the latest data from market research firm IDC also points to an identical 0.1-percent decline in global PC shipments during the quarter.

Both market firms attribute this decline in PC shipments to the current economic climate and a lack of consumer interest in PCs. But while Gartner blames increased interest in smartphones and media tablets for poor PC sales, IDC feels this is just a “transition period” where most consumers are simply reluctant to spend on PCs ahead of Windows 8’s launch later this year.

“Uncertainties in the economy in various regions, as well as consumer’s low interest in PC purchases, were some of the key influencers of slow PC shipment growth. Despite the high expectations for the thin and light notebook segment, Ultrabooks, shipment volume was small and little impact on overall shipment growth,” said Mikako Kitagawa.

"These latest results validate IDC's expectation that the second quarter would be a transition period where both economic factors and anticipation for new products in the second half of the year would result in relatively low PC shipment growth," said Jay Chou, senior research analyst, Worldwide PC Tracker.

"The announcement of a Windows 8 launch date, as well as broader communication of new features in the OS, is key steps that would help to address uncertainty about new product availability and help consumers and channels plan their purchases."

According to IDC’s preliminary PC shipment estimates for 2Q12, the quarter was particularly bad for HP, which saw its global PC shipments decline 12.1 percent. But this huge decline wasn’t big enough to help Lenovo, which registered a 14.9-percent increase in global PC shipments, unseat HP from the top spot.  That said, the market share gap between the two companies is now insignificant, as Lenovo ended the second quarter with 14.7 percent of the global PC market, compared to HP’s 14.9 percent market share.

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