Lenovo nearly catches HP for global PC leadership in Q3

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The results are below IDC’s August forecast of a 3.8 percent year-on-year market contraction. IDC had expected a quiet quarter as channels focused on clearing out Windows 7 inventory to make space for Windows 8. Continued pressure from other products such as tablets and smartphones, as well as uncertainty over the impact of Windows 8 and the economic outlook, contributed to depressed shipments ? largely as expected. Nevertheless, despite an already conservative outlook, the results show the vulnerability of PCs and the loss of mindshare among buyers who until recent years have flocked to back-to-school promotions in the third quarter for PCs. Familiar and persistent factors such as renewed economic issues and budget diversion into other devices also played a part. As a result, all regions saw shipment volumes decline from a year ago. “PCs are going through a severe slump,” said Jay Chou, senior research analyst for worldwide PC tracker at IDC. “The industry had already weathered a rough second quarter, and now the third quarter was even worse. A weak global economy as well as questions about PC market saturation and delayed replacement cycles are certainly a factor, but the hard question of what is the ‘it’ product for PCs remain unanswered. While ultrabook prices have come down a little, there are still some significant challenges that will greet Windows 8 in the coming quarter.” “We expected a weak PC market in the lead up to Windows 8 release in the fourth quarter. While the industry has been focused on shaving excess inventory and preparing to launch a new generation of products, consumers have been looking at alternative devices like tablets. In addition, businesses have slowed their refresh cycle as they remain concerned about the broad economic outlook, amid a busy political season,” said David Daoud, research director at IDC. “Nevertheless, as vendors line up innovative new products and designs, consumers are likely to respond positively during the tail-end of 4Q12, and that means a potential return to positive growth at the end of this year.” In Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan), the region continued to contract on a year-on-year basis, though growing sequentially from 2Q12. China was mostly on target but the rest of the region came in below expectations as ongoing economic sluggishness and competing device distractions weighed on PC spending this quarter. Vendor highlights HP saw shipments contract more than 16 percent from a year ago and narrowly held on to the top vendor spot. Distractions caused by its reorganization, challenges in integrating its enterprise acquisitions, and an unclear strategy to regain its course remain key obstacles. Lenovo, despite slowing growth in Asia, continued to register the highest yearly growth among all top vendors. The vendor maintained its methodical approach to build out channel partnerships and acquire key OEMs in markets outside it home turf, with varying degrees of success. Its persistence as well as missteps of its rivals helped Lenovo to maintain a top 5 position in the US, and gain a couple points of share to nearly tie HP for the lead in global shipments. Dell faced a tough quarter, dropping below its own 2Q12 shipment volume. The vendor saw share declines in all markets and ended the quarter with a 14 percent decline. Tepid PC refresh activity in the US and EMEA continued to be a key inhibitor for Dell. Although the company has made strides in other areas, with Asia-Pacific becoming its second biggest market after the U.S., its momentum there has also been curtailed by a cooling market. Acer Group faced an uphill climb to get back into growth mode since the market for low-priced notebooks dimmed. The third quarter was no different, with shipments registering a sequential decline and disappointing notebook volume. However, Acer’s aggressive foray into ultrabooks and Windows tablets could help to reverse its fortunes if Windows 8 finds solid acceptance. ]]>

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