HP remained the top vendor but Lenovo is catching fast
Worldwide PC shipments during the second quarter of 2012 fell 0.1% compared to the corresponding quarter a year ago, according to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker.
The fall in shipments was mainly due to disappointing sell-out of distribution channels during the first quarter and the limited demand from channels that are concerned about building inventory ahead of new product launches this autumn, IDC said.
The report also revealed that the PC buyers remained reluctant about purchasing PCs with looming tech transition to tablets such as Apple’s iPad and the economic situation across many parts of the world.
Ultrabooks have not pushed significant rise in volumes – in part due to arrival of Windows 8, which is expected later this year, but also due to pricing.
According to the report, the slump in demand across Europe and the US has also been felt in emerging markets, while Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) recorded flat year-on-year growth which is said to be worst performance in years.
The US market shrank by 10.6% as 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 vendors, only Lenovo managed to maintain positive growth by driving its channel reach and being more aggressive against its established competitors.
With year on year growth of 6.1%, Lenovo’s growth however decelerated abruptly from the double-digit growth rates of previous quarters, further reflecting slow market conditions in the US.
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.
IDC Personal Computing research director David Daoud said the US 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," Daoud said.
"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."
Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region maintained positive growth 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.
Growth in Japan remained positive despite slowing from the first quarter while growth in Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) saw growth drop slightly below zero, negating a key driver of global growth, the report revealed.
HP remained the top vendor with shipments of 13.4m although it saw shipments decline significantly across regions. Chinese PC maker Lenovo is rapidly closing in on HP and could overtake the Silicon Valley icon this quarter.