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Global PC shipments fell 0.1 percent in Q2 2012

Posted on Friday, July 13 2012 @ 12:00:29 CEST by

IDC reports global PC shipments fell 0.1 percent in Q2 2012 versus the year before, to 86.73 million units. The research firm estimates HP has a marketshare of 15.5 percent, followed by Lenovo at 14.9 percent and Dell at 11.1 percent. Acer takes the fourth spot with 10.4 percent and ASUS captured 7.1 percent of the market.
The worldwide PC market saw growth stall in the second quarter of 2012 (2Q12), with shipments falling 0.1% from a year ago, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. The results are slightly below IDC's May projections of 2.1% year-on-year growth, but in-line with projections of a slow second and third quarter before faster growth by year end.

Part of the reason for slow 2Q12 sales was disappointing sell-out of distribution channels during the first quarter. This limited demand from channels that are wary of building inventory ahead of new product launches this fall. Moreover, consumers remained reluctant about purchasing PCs in this environment of tech transition and soft economics. Ultrabooks have not yet produced a significant rise in volumes – in part due to anticipation of improvements such as Windows 8, which is expected later this year, but also due to pricing. Constrained demand in Europe and the U.S. has also been felt in emerging markets for some time, but the second quarter brought another milestone of sorts as Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) showed flat year-on-year growth; its worst performance in years.

"These latest results validate IDC's expectation that the second quarter would be a transition period where both economic factors and anticipation for new products in the second half of the year would result in relatively low PC shipment growth," said Jay Chou, senior research analyst, Worldwide PC Tracker. "The announcement of a Windows 8 launch date, as well as broader communication of new features in the OS, are key steps that would help to address uncertainty about new product availability and help consumers and channels plan their purchases."

"The U.S. market suffered a double-digit contraction in the second quarter as market saturation and economic factors combine with anticipation of Windows 8 and other changes later in the year. In this context, consumers are delaying purchases, and vendors and retailers are slowing down their PC activities to clear existing inventories. The situation is exacerbated by consumer notebook saturation, a slowing replacement cycle in the commercial sector, and the big macro-economic and political events affecting confidence and spending," said David Daoud, research director, Personal Computing at IDC. "We don't expect PCs using Windows 8 to boost growth significantly until the fourth quarter, which leads to a conservative outlook for the third quarter."

Regional Outlook
United States – The U.S. market fared worse than expected, shrinking by 10.6% compared to a forecast of -4.4%. Most vendors and their channel partners struggled with shrinking demand as a saturated market and lack of incentives are leading buyers to delay purchases of PCs for the time being. Among the top-tier leaders, only Lenovo managed to maintain positive momentum by growing its channel reach and being more aggressive against its well established competitors. However, at +6.1% year-on-year, even Lenovo's growth decelerated abruptly from the double-digit growth rates of previous quarters, further reflecting slow market conditions in the U.S. Mid-tier vendors struggled even more as they typically rely on a fewer channels than their bigger competitors and therefore remain more sensitive to swings in demand. Bottom-tier vendors captured marginal demand in local communities and in regional markets; however, they too struggled with a difficult economic environment affecting local public sector entities and small businesses.

EMEA – EMEA maintained positive growth in line with expectations, driven by sell-in recovery in Western Europe and CEE in particular, and an easier year-on-year comparison. Growth in Western Europe remained modest, impacted by slow consumer demand and caution from the channel ahead of the Windows 8 transition, but returned to healthier levels. Strong demand supported an even faster recovery in the CEE region and propelled growth ahead of expectations, while the MEA region also maintained positive trends, albeit more modest.

Japan – Maintained positive growth in 2Q12 despite slowing from the first quarter. Commercial demand was reasonably solid despite the seasonal second quarter low and a smaller impact of recovery from last year's quake damage.

Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) – The region also saw growth drop slightly below zero, thereby removing a key driver of global growth. Slower shipments in China and India were major factors, but other key markets also were slightly below expectations. Lenovo once again outgrew the market, but it too saw a much slower pace of growth.

Vendor Outlook
HP remained the top vendor but saw shipments decline significantly across regions. The vendor continues to face pressure from its reorganization efforts and slow market conditions in addition to managing channels as they adapt to market changes.

Lenovo remained in second place, but narrowed the gap between itself and HP considerably. While Lenovo continued to grow much faster than the market, it too experienced slower growth than in recent quarters.

Dell also faced a tough quarter, slipping below 10 million units a quarter for the first time since 2Q09. The vendor saw share declines across regions as it focuses on profitability and commercial sales.

Acer was able to stabilize shipments for another quarter - staying just ahead of the market. The company saw a recovery in Europe as it rebounded from inventory issues a year ago, but also felt the impact of slowing demand in other regions.

ASUS continued to gain ground at a rapid pace with strong growth across regions. The vendor has most of its volume in EMEA and Asia/Pacific, but is expanding channels and gaining share in other regions as well.



































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All Vendors






Market research firm Gartner also released a new report about the Q2 2012 PC market. They conclude PC shipments fell 0.1 percent to 87.47 million units. The marketshare data is also slightly different, HP has 14.9 percent according to Gartner, with Lenovo following closely at 14.7 percent. Acer takes the third spot with 11.0 percent while Dell is fourth with 10.7 percent, and ASUS trails with 7.0 percent. You can view the tables over here.
STAMFORD, Conn., July 11, 2012— Worldwide PC shipments totaled 87.5 million units in the second quarter of 2012, a decline of 0.1 percent from the second quarter of 2011, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc.

“In the second quarter of 2012, the PC market suffered through its seventh consecutive quarter of flat to single-digit growth,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. “Uncertainties in the economy in various regions, as well as consumer’s low interest in PC purchases, were some of the key influencers of slow PC shipment growth. Despite the high expectations for the thin and light notebook segment, Ultrabooks, shipment volume was small and little impact on overall shipment growth.”

“Consumers are less interested in spending on PCs as there are other technology product and services, such as the latest smartphones and media tablets that they are purchasing. This is more of a trend in the mature market as PCs are highly saturated in these markets,” Ms. Kitagawa said. “A big portion of R&D spending has been allocated to Ultrabook development, together with Intel’s massive investments to establish the market segment. Though Ultrabook was at first introduced in the market in 2011, the major promotion kicked off toward the end of 2Q12 with the IvyBridge, based Ultrabook release. This segment is still in an early adopter’s stage.”

HP continued to be in the top position in worldwide PC shipments (see Table 1). It accounted for 14.9 percent of the market, but its global shipments declined 12.1 percent. Some of HP’s disappointing results were due to internal issues from the organizational changes. HP’s PC business has not been back to pre re-structuring level yet. The company also faced aggressive pricing from Lenovo in the professional market, and threats from companies such as ASUS and Samsung in the already crowded consumer markets.

Lenovo’ s shipment growth continued to exceed the worldwide average, significantly narrowing the market share gap with HP. Lenovo has been very aggressive to expand through a series of acquisitions, as well as aggressive pricing. Lenovo’s aggressive expansion damaged its competitor’s performance, namely HP and Dell, by taking shares from them. Lenovo showed significant growth in EMEA though there is growing concern of the inventory build toward the second half of 2012.

Acer managed to increase shipments compared to a year ago, and the company was able to clear its inventory issues, and prepare for the growth. Acer has been one of the first vendors to release Ultrabooks, and it will most likely lower the Ultrabook price faster than other vendors. Acer has been also very actively promoting its media tablet products.

Dell has been in a process of transforming itself from a PC supplier to solution provider for professional markets. Although Dell’s focus was not to pursue the market share gain, Dell needs to maintain certain level of market share. Dell showed year on year shipment decline across all regions, but EMEA and Asia/Pacific were particularly challenging markets.

ASUS showed the strongest growth among the top 5 vendors worldwide, as its shipments increased 38.6 percent in the second quarter of 2012. ASUS’s strong growth came from EMEA and U.S. markets. ASUS did well at diversifying the product portfolio: starting with mini-notebook expansion, then quickly moving to the mid- to high-end notebook market.

In the U.S., PC shipments totaled 15.9 million units in the second quarter of 2012, a 5.7 percent decline from the same period last year. The slowdown in the U.S. market was largely attributed to weak consumer spending on PCs. This reflects a combination of consumers’ reduced interest in PCs, and vendors reduced willingness to sell PCs due to other products and services that consumers are interested. The major promotion of Ultrabooks could potentially change the market dynamics.

“Weakness in the U.S. public market affected the professional segment despite the high PC procurement season in the second quarter,” Ms. Kitagawa said. “Both government and education institutions are encountering tight budget situations. Shipments to the public sector are expected to be lower than normal seasonality.”

HP continued to lead the U.S. PC market, as it accounted for 25 percent of PC shipments in the second quarter of 2012. Among the top 5 vendors in the U.S. PC market, all but Apple experienced a decline in shipments (see Table 2).

From a regional perspective, EMEA, Asia/Pacific and Japan registered low single digit-growth while all Americas markets posted year-over-year shipment declines.

PC shipments in EMEA totaled 25.1 million units in the second quarter of 2012, a 1.9 percent increase from the same period last year. Western Europe saw very weak demand across all countries but especially Southern Europe. Consumer willingness to spend on PCs was furthered hindered by the growing eurozone economic crisis. Retailers again took a risk adverse approach but distributors may well have greater levels of inventory. This will hinder future growth of markets as Windows 8 and more Ultramobile notebooks arrive in the second half of 2012.

The Asia/Pacific PC market grew 2 percent, as shipments reached 31.8 million units. The weak U.S. and European economic situation, coupled with the slowing economy in China, affected the region’s market sentiments where people reacted by scaling back on spending due to the uncertainties. There was the tightening of budgets in the professional segment, as well as a lack in new government initiatives to stimulate IT purchasing activities. Consumers either spent on alternative devices or remained cautious on discretionary spending.

In Latin America, PC shipments in the second quarter of 2012 totaled 9.3 million units, a decline of 1.7 percent from the second quarter of last year. PC shipments in Japan grew 2 percent in the second quarter of 2012, as shipments surpassed 3.9 million units.

These results are preliminary. Final statistics will be available soon to clients of Gartner's PC Quarterly Statistics Worldwide by Region program. This program offers a comprehensive and timely picture of the worldwide PC market, allowing product planning, distribution, marketing and sales organizations to keep abreast of key issues and their future implications around the globe. Additional research can be found on Gartner's Computing Hardware section on Gartner's website at http://www.gartner.com/it/products/research/asset_129157_2395.jsp.



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