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

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.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

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. 

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