Hard drive shortage nails Q4 PC growth, but Apple shines

Hard drive shortage nails Q4 PC growth, but Apple shines

Summary: Only Apple---fueled by its solid state drive MacBook Air---skated through the fourth quarter unscathed in the U.S.


Global PC shipments for the fourth quarter were down 0.2 percent compared to a year ago as the industry was nailed by hard drive shortages and competition from tablets, phones and e-readers, according to data from IDC and Gartner.

Only Apple---fueled by its solid state drive MacBook Air---skated by unscathed. Apple delivered fourth quarter growth of 18 percent in the U.S.

For 2011, the PC industry grew at a 1.6 percent clip. Europe and Asia was better than expected. Overall though, hard drive shortages and a pause ahead of Windows 8 are going to keep PC growth in check.

IDC expects first quarter shipments to slow, but then pick up in the fourth quarter. For 2012, IDC is expecting growth of 5.4 percent.

Here's the IDC PC standings:

Gartner had a similar story as its fourth quarter sales fell 1.5 percent. Like IDC, Gartner cited emerging market growth. Gartner said:

Hard-disk drive (HDD) shortages triggered by the October 2011 floods in Thailand had a limited impact on fourth-quarter PC shipments and prices. However, Gartner analysts said a major impact will be felt, and this is expected to materialize in the first half of 2012, and potentially continue throughout 2012. These shortages will temporarily lower PC shipment growth during 2012.

Gartner also noted that ultrabooks didn't attract consumers with a relatively soft launch.

Topics: Hardware, Apple, CXO, IT Priorities

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  • Clearly the "others" did very well in the US

    They grew 7%. So it isn't true to state that only Apple skated through unscathed in the US.

    And in the world, where Apple doesn't even show up in the top 5, Lenovo doubled Apple's US growth, ASUS trounced Apple's US growth, and Dell showed some growth.

    Clearly then, there is something more going on here than the fact that the MacBook Air uses SSD.

    But don't let the facts stop you from twisting this into yet another "only Apple wins, everyone else loses" story.
    • Yet in the 2010 fourth quarter

      Apple sales grew 27 percent over 2009 fourth quarter sales.

      Does this indicate that Apple is not growing as fast as it once did?
      Tim Cook
    • years ago before the Mac boom, Macs already took 30+% of PC Profits

      @toddybottom <br><br>worldwide.<br>(90% of the money in the above $1000 PC category i.e the most profitable segment) Think about it all those dozens of OEMs like Samsung, Sony, Dell, Acer, Lenovo and bonks of other asian manufacturers take up the other 60-70% profits!! <br><br>The last few years with the iPhone etc 'halo effect' and Apple Stores spurring Mac sales the profits must even be larger. Not that many years ago Apple had two percent US marketshare, it's now 10%, so I wonder how the profits are.<br><br>the other US PC makers aren't making money: <br>IBM has stopped making PCs, Dell has stated it's focusing more on corporate services (ala IBM and Oracle) and HP is on and off whether it's PC division will live. <br>even dirt bottom Asian OEMs like Acer and Asus are hurting. Acer says it will change focus to higher end products like Ultrabooks (aka Macbook Air clones) in the last ditch effort. <br><br>I guess it's still ""only Apple wins, everyone else loses" story."<br><br>(AND all these analysts VERY CAREFULLY - as most of their clients are in the PC business - make sure they don't count iPads as 'personal computers'. NDP said they counted PC Windows tablets as PCs but not iPads as Windows tablets were full functioning computers! They counted HP slate running windows but when HP changed to WebOS a reporter asked whether they would count it or not... and the NDP rep in a video interview stammered and couldn't answer... lol)
      • RE: Hard drive shortage nails Q4 PC growth, but Apple shines


        Yes, yes. When the market share numbers don't tell the story you want switch to the profits story.
      • You let me know when you want to address the issues in this blog

        The author's conclusion, that Apple was the only one to see any growth last quarter, was not supported by the statistics as presented by the author himself. Several other companies showed growth and 2 of them showed growth that was far bigger than Apple's.

        While it is always entertaining to see you cheer Apple's monopolies, these monopolies are completely irrelevant to this particular blog.
      • Sure Davewright. When the numbers aren't as great as they were before

        use proffit and excuses to coverup the shortfall.

        And not too long ago MS had 2% of the computer OS market, so what's your point?
        William Farrel
  • RE: Hard drive shortage nails Q4 PC growth, but Apple shines

    see what you've done here is look at one stat, that benefits your point of view, never mind lenovo making a killing in the rest of the world along with asus and arguably dell. Or that all the companies except acer seemed to have breezed through with only minor losses in terms of market share. no, it must be apple being better than everybody else without a doubt.

    I'm not denying that apple have been doing well in the USA lately at the expense of other companies. But it doesn't correlate with the hard drive shortage at all as many companies have improved dramatically in spite of it, just have others have lost out. there are just too many other factors at work here
    • I see you have looked at one stat..

      @beenman500 ...unit sales.. without considering margins/profit share.. PC vendor margins are razor thin Apple tends to be in 30% territory..
      • RE: Hard drive shortage nails Q4 PC growth, but Apple shines


        Why should I care about profits? This isn't a financial advise website.
      • Don't know about you my friend but I want to know

        @Ididar ... That if I spend a few hundred to a thousand or perhaps even more that the company I give my money too will be around at least as long as my warranty lasts:) So yeah profits are huge to both the consumer and the OEM.

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
      • So Dell and the others may go out of business next year?

        @James Quinn
        Sorry James, I'll have to say that your post was a stretch of epic proportions.

        You know everyone of those companies will be around for many years to come.
        William Farrel
      • What with mergers and other factors who knows?

        @William Farrel... Look at HP and it's famous flip flop on the whole PC business. Dell now makes good money in other areas and could logically drop the PC line in favor of richer rewards elsewhere.

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
  • Take these numbers with a grain of salt.

    Apple hasn't released their Q1FY'12 (Sept. 25-Dec. 25) numbers yet, so I'd wait until the 24th to see what Apple sales really were. I don't clock the IDC PC Tracker numbers, so I don't know how they fare historically, but I <b>do</b> know that professional analysts tend to be 8-15% off when predicting Apple results.