Lenovo, HP in close top-spot race as global PC shipments stagnate

Lenovo, HP in close top-spot race as global PC shipments stagnate

Summary: Ultrabooks: once heralded as the savior to the notebook market. But stagnant growth across the PC making board shows the thin and light portables have had little effect on the overall PC market.

TOPICS: PCs, Mobility, Processors

It's a gloomy outlook for PC builders as two research firms, Gartner and IDC, say preliminary results show a stagnating PC market with worldwide shipments stalling in the second-quarter.

Gartner's figures show worldwide PC shipments totalled 87.5 million units, while IDC reveals a similar figure of 86.3 million units --- a decline by 0.1 percent on the year before.

The PC market is struggling, even amid an industry-wide ultrabooks push. Despite high expectations in the thin and light laptop space, shipment figures show a poor rollout across the board and had "little impact on overall shipment growth," said Gartner principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa. 

That is, with the exception of Lenovo, who is rapidly approaching HP's number-one slot as the PC market leader. Slow and steady may well win the race, but a massive expansion to Brazil may also have helped

According to both sets of figures, HP suffered a massive 12 percent drop in growth, with Dell falling by more than 11 percent. While Asus took the lead in growth, Lenovo grew by around 12 percent in the second-quarter putting it a hair's breadth away from the top-spot currently occupied by market leader, HP. 


Screen Shot 2012-07-12 at 07.58.11
Credit: Gartner.

HP sold 13 million PCs down by 1.8 million a year ago, while Lenovo sold 12.8 million up from 11.2 million on the same quarter last year --- showing extremely healthy growth compared to Dell's 9.3 million shipments which fell from 10.6 million a year ago. Asus saw massive growth of 38.6 percent, but still stands behind in fifth place.

Gartner warned that distributors and retails "may well have greater levels of inventory," which could hinder future growth, particularly in the run-up to the October release of Windows 8.


Screen Shot 2012-07-12 at 08.06.35
Credit: IDC.

According to IDC, the figures are similar, despite the two research firms measuring the market differently. IDC said the figures fall in line with "projections of a slow second and third quarter before faster growth by year end."

But Windows 8 has set a date in which customers will head to retail outlets and online stores to buy new machines, which will boost overall PC shipments in the fourth-quarter in the run up to the Christmas holiday.

On the ultrabook front, IDC notes that the MacBook Air-like notebooks "have not yet produced a significant rise in volumes," partly due to pricing. 

It's worth noting that Gartner said Apple's share had increased by 4.3 percent with 1.9 million "PC" shipments, while IDC said Apple's share had shrunk by more than 1 percent after it shipped 20,000 Macs less than the same quarter a year ago. 

Oh, the joys of differing statistics. 

Topics: PCs, Mobility, Processors

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  • Mature market and supply chain advantage?

    Why is Lenovo gaining so much? I'm speculating that a Chinese company will have better leverage to outsource with essentially the same Chinese suppliers as are used by everyone else. PCs appear to be commodities competing based on lowest price. Please show me how I'm wrong.
  • Clouds in the crystal ball

    It must be getting worse, because Microsoft is behaving like a company that sees storm clouds ahead. The write-down of aQuantive could have happened anytime. They could have done it last year, they could as easily have decided to carry it on the books another year or two. This is the kind of thing that CFOs do when times are good, but they fear that not-so-good times are coming. "Take the bath now, and get it behind us" is the sentiment.

    Then today we hear that Microsoft and NBC are in talks for NBC to buy Microsoft's share of MSNBC.com. Selling assets -- especially for cash -- is another one of those things you do on your way down into the tornado shelter.

    None of this is meant to imply that Microsoft is in any sort of difficulty, only that The Prudent Heads are doing prudent things to get ready for an earnings dip.
    Robert Hahn
  • Remember my existential threat warning!

    Microsoft's enterprise and consumer territory is threatened on multiple sales fronts:
    - slow transformation to cloud,
    - no significant internet penetration from initial times which even Google will start smelling as it sees ad prices drop or collapse,
    - drop in sales from Europe,
    - no smart phone penetration in enterprise with RIMM behaving like an angry kid that does not listen and refusing to cooperate,
    - Facebook effect on Microsoft being minimal and even on Facebook itself and finally the entry of iPad itself into enterprise territory when Surface should have been that device point but this is still an entry only,
    - PC and Phone OEMs not cooperating with Microsoft including Asus, Acer, Samsung, Hp and Dell and even Toshiba. All of which except Nokia and Lenovo are dumb to dabble both in Android and Windows and even a 3rd OS alternative. Lack of platform stability has killed the OEM innovation path. OEMs were supposed to innovate on hardware leaving software to Microsoft. Instead they kept playing Microsoft against Google.
    - Need to introduce a vertically integrated product just to compete against a small iPad like device.

    All of these are negatives which will impact Microsoft's thinking culture. Things in reality are not going good for the company.

    The only positives among all of these are Windows Server, Windows Office and SQL Server and Sharepoint and CRM software. These 4 or 5 units have been going great guns in revenue growth inspite of Linux and inspite of the Cloud vaporware.