Lenovo slows down as HP clings to top PC spot in Q4

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[/caption] HP defended its top position in IDC’s worldwide ranking, recovering somewhat from past weakness in key markets. An aggressive push for Windows 8 volume helped the vendor make gains in Asia-Pacific and its home turf in the US. It struggled in EMEA but posted the first year-over-year growth in Asia-Pacific in four quarters. Total volume was nearly flat from a year ago, but better than the overall market. Lenovo outpaced the market with growth of over 8 percent, with volume reaching a new record-high of more than 14 million units, with continued success in channel wins in the US and EMEA. But despite the positive performance, Lenovo’s gains remained significantly smaller than several quarters ago when the company was besting market growth by nearly 30 percent. Dell continued to lose ground as it faces aggressive competition from other leaders and looks for better margins. Worldwide shipments were down over 20 percent year over year ? faster than declines over the past several years ? with US volume declining almost as much. The firm did manage sequential growth in most other markets. Acer Group, like a few other vendors, remains heavily dependent on consumer spending. As a result, it has continued to suffer as consumers focus on other products. At the same time, Acer’s cautious approach to the Windows 8 transition has contributed to slower notebook shipments. Asus held onto its top 5 spot globally and stretched the distance between itself and other consumer-focused vendors with growth of 5.6 percent year on year. The firm racked up strong gains across many regions, where its often innovative yet price-conscious offerings still managed to take root in spite of an increasingly tough landscape. Worldwide PC shipments totaled 89.8 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012 (4Q12), down 6.4 percent compared to the same quarter in 2011 and worse than the forecasted decline of 4.4 percent, according to research firm IDC. Although the quarter marked the beginning of a new stage in the PC industry with the launch of Windows 8, its impact did not quickly change recently sluggish PC demand, and the PC market continued to take a back seat to competing devices and sustained economic woes. As a result, the fourth quarter of 2012 marked the first time in more than five years that the PC market has seen a year-on-year decline during the holiday season. The lackluster fourth quarter results were not entirely surprising given the spate of challenges the PC market faced over the course of 2012. IDC had expected the second half of 2012 to be difficult. Consumers as well as PC vendors and distribution channels continued to be diverted from PC sales by ongoing demand for tablets and smartphones. In addition, questions about the use of touch on Windows PCs vs. tablets slowed commercial spending on PCs. “Although the third quarter was focused on the clearing of Windows 7 inventory, preliminary research indicates the clearance did not significantly boost the uptake of Windows 8 systems in Q4,” said Jay Chou, senior research analyst at IDC. “Lost in the shuffle to promote a touch-centric PC, vendors have not forcefully stressed other features that promote a more secure, reliable and efficient user experience. As Windows 8 matures, and other corresponding variables such as Ultrabook pricing continue to drop, hopefully the PC market can see a reset in both messaging and demand in 2013.” “As anticipated, the US market had a rough ending, dropping 4.5 percent in the fourth quarter and contributing to a decline of 7 percent for the full year 2012,” said David Daoud, research director at IDC. “Consumers expected all sorts of cool PCs with tablet and touch capabilities. Instead, they mostly saw traditional PCs that feature a new OS optimized for touch and tablet with applications and hardware that are not yet able to fully utilize these capabilities. ?Despite a generally weak performance, some leading brands managed do to well relative to the market. HP, Lenovo, Asus, and Samsung were among the top performers, taking advantage of some consumer interest in Windows 8, and a push to build up their presence ahead of 2013.” In Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) region came in slightly below forecasts, as channels in most countries focused on clearing out existing Windows 7 inventory before bringing in fresh Windows 8 stock. ]]>

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