Hewlett-Packard is still the top PC vendor worldwide as it tries to recover in key markets, according to the International Data Corporation.
The market intelligence firm published its latest report for the PC industry on Thursday afternoon, reporting soft sales globally for the fourth quarter of 2012.
Specifically, approximately 89.8 million PC units were shipped worldwide last quarter, which is worse than the predicted 4.4 percent decline -- not to mention down by 6.4 percent from the fourth quarter of 2011.
Analysts and investors might have been hoping for a boost thanks to the launch of Windows 8 at the end of October, but based on Thursday's report, there just wasn't enough time for the new version of Microsoft's operating system to make an impact.
Jay Chou, a senior research analyst for IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker group, explained further in the report:
Although the third quarter was focused on the clearing of Windows 7 inventory, preliminary research indicates the clearance did not significantly boost the uptake of Windows 8 systems in Q4. Lost in the shuffle to promote a touch-centric PC, vendors have not forcefully stressed other features that promote a more secure, reliable and efficient user experience. As Windows 8 matures, and other corresponding variables such as Ultrabook pricing continue to drop, hopefully the PC market can see a reset in both messaging and demand in 2013.
As for the vendors, this is a stickier situation. To recall, IDC still pegged Hewlett-Packard as the top PC vendor worldwide back in October, ahead of Lenovo -- despite a contrary report from Gartner.
For Q4, the IDC asserted that "HP continued to defend its top position in IDC's worldwide ranking, recovering somewhat from past weakness in key markets."
Funny enough, IDC analysts said that the Windows 8 push actually did help HP last quarter -- especially in the United States as well as the Asia/Pacific region. However, HP continued to struggle in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Despite being placed second, Lenovo saw an 8.2 percent gain worldwide (versus the 0.6 percent decline posted by HP) with a record posting of more than 14 million units shipped during the quarter.
However, IDC analysts noted that Lenovo's gains are still smaller than what they used to be, comparing them to growth rates of nearly 30 percent seen last year.
Dell, Acer, and Asus, respectively, rounded out the top five PC vendors worldwide. Besides Lenovo, Asus was the only seller to post positive growth from Q4 2011 to Q4 2012.
As for 2012 overall, the IDC also found HP to be the top vendor for the year, despite a 6.7 percent decline in market share since 2011. Lenovo, on the other hand, grew its share by 19.2 percent.
Reflecting on the year, David Daoud, research director for the IDC's U.S. Quarterly PC Tracker, remarked in the report that consumers didn't get "all sorts of cool PCs" and tablets that they might have been expecting. Instead, he continued, they just got traditional PCs with a new operating system, which would be Windows 8.
But considering how many OEM partners are coming out with Ultrabooks, tablets, hybrids of the two and more this year, perhaps those consumer sentiments will change this year.
Charts via IDC Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker