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Global PC sales flat in second quarter

by Stuart Wilson, Wednesday 18 July 2012

Preliminary data from research house Gartner claims that second quarter 2012 global PC sales were down 0.1% in unit terms year-on-year at 87.5 million units. It is important to note that Gartner’s data includes desktops, notebooks and netbooks, but not tablets.

PC shipments in EMEA hit 25.1 million units in the second quarter of 2012, a 1.9% year-on-year increase. Western Europe saw weak demand and Southern Europe was especially hard hit as Eurozone economic issues took their toll on the market.

Gartner claimed that EMEA retailers were taking a risk-averse approach and that the distribution channel could be carrying increased inventory. Gartner believes this could hinder market growth as Windows 8 PCs and new ultramobile notebooks enter the channel in the second half of the year.

In Latin America, PC shipments in the second quarter of 2012 totalled 9.3 million units, a small year-on-year drop of 1.7%.

“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 consumers’ low interest in PC purchases, were some of the key influencers of slow PC shipment growth.”

At a global level HP took top spot in Gartner’s vendor rankings with second quarter unit shipments of 13 million units, accounting for 14.9% of the total market. This represented a drop of 12.1% in unit volumes from a year earlier.

Lenovo’s relentless drive to overtake HP as the number one global vendor moved a step closer. Lenovo took second spot as unit sales rose 14.0% year-on-year to hit 12.8 million.

Gartner claimed that Lenovo’s growth was damaging HP and Dell’s performance. Gartner stated: “Lenovo showed significant growth in EMEA though there is growing concern of the inventory build toward the second half of 2012.”

Acer took third spot, with global unit sales rising 3.6% to 9.6 million, while Dell was positioned fourth despite a year-on-year 11.5% decline to 9.3 million. Asus took the final top five spot with unit sales up an impressive 38.6% year-on-year at 6.1 million units.

The top five vendors accounted for 57.4% of the overall market according to Gartner. Asus’ powerful global growth was driven by success in EMEA and the US according to Gartner, which praised the vendor for capturing strong netbook sales, but quickly moving to mid and high-end notebooks as netbook popularity declined.

“Despite the high expectations for the thin and light notebook segment – ultrabooks - shipment volume was small and [there was] little impact on overall shipment growth,” Kitagawa added.

“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,” Kitagawa explained.

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