Global mobile PC market 'underperforming' despite growth

Summary:Despite seeing the strongest sequential quarterly growth in four years, the global mobile PC market is not faring as well as previously expected, according to new figures.

The mobile PC market may have seen the strongest growth in about four years, rising shy of 10 percent in the fourth calendar quarter.

But it isn't to say it couldn't do better, or is even healthy for that matter.

Mobile PCs, which include netbooks, PC tablets, and ultrabooks, were expecting by industry watchers to hit at least 55.3 million unit shipments during the December holiday quarter. Actual shipments came in at just 52.6 million, up from 48.1 million during the third quarter.

If, however, the figures were measured year-over-year, the market would have seen the sixth straight year decline on a quarterly basis, down 5 percent on the fourth quarter of 2012.

Screen Shot 2014-02-12 at 9.14.46 AM
Image: IHS

Research firm IHS said the results are as a result of smartphones and cellular-enabled devices appearing to be more "agile and appealing," and is on the whole unable to lure away consumers from the array of phone and tablet form-factors.

IHS' Craig Stice attributed some of the blame on shipments of entry-level devices in prepared remarks:

"...With the consumer PC market struggling, PC vendors proceeded to maintain a conservative buying plan for the holiday season with attempts to keep inventory levels lean. As a result, entry-level PCs did not make it into high volume for the holidays, and overall shipments underperformed the initial heady outlook."

There is hope on the horizon, however. With the death of Windows XP scheduled for April — just two months from now — it's hoped a refresh of new machines will help breathe life into the stagnant mobile PC market.

Topics: Mobility

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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