Friday, June 21, 2024

PC market beats expectations with mild improvement in biz outlook

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 81.6 million units in the third quarter of 2013 (3Q13). In year-on-year terms, the market contracted -7.6 percent, ahead of a projected decline of -9.5 percent for the quarter, according to research firm IDC.

Credit: IDC

While shipments remained weak during the early part of the quarter, the market was somewhat buoyed by business purchases, as well as channel intake of Windows 8.1-based systems during September.
A slight uptick in business volume contributed to shipments. The top three vendors (Lenovo, HP, and Dell), which all have an important presence in the enterprise and public sectors, each saw modest positive year-on-year growth during the quarter.

Conversely, consumer sentiment remained lukewarm at best, as evidenced by the continued struggles of Acer and Asus.

Despite some encouraging developments in the business space, emerging markets continued to exhibit troubling signs, with Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan)(APeJ) in particular still facing stock of Ivy Bridge-based systems and continued encroachment from lower-priced tablets and smartphones.

“The third quarter was pretty close to forecast, which unfortunately doesn?t reflect much improvement in the PC market, or potential for near-term growth,” said Loren Loverde, vice president worldwide PC trackers at IDC.

“Whether constrained by a weak economy or being selective in their tech investments, buyers continue to evaluate options and delay PC replacements. Despite being a little ahead of forecast, and the work that’s being done on new designs and integration of features like touch, the third quarter results suggest that there’s still a high probability that we will see another decline in worldwide shipments in 2014.”

“The United States outperformed many other regions as growth stabilized just under 0 percent. Continuing upgrades from Windows XP boosted shipments, particularly in the commercial desktop segment, while retail acceptance of new and emerging product categories, such as Chromebooks and Ultraslims, helped the portables segment,” said Rajani Singh, senior research analyst for personal computers at IDC.

“Nevertheless, the broad picture of the US market has not changed much, with hopes for a small increase in the fourth quarter followed by a challenging 2014.”

Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) was generally close to forecasts with a decline of -8.8 percent year on year. Many countries, particularly in developing markets, struggled with exchange rate pressures, but commercial buying in China was better than expected.

Credit: IDC

Vendor highlights

Lenovo maintained the top PC vendor title, and continued to expand its channel reach as well as experiment with new form factors. Troubles in Asia/Pacific continued to pose a significant problem, where much of the lower-tier channels struggled with inventory clearance, constraining overall growth. However, the vendor posted a strong gain in the U.S. market, growing more than 2 percent compared to a year ago.

HP finished the quarter in the number 2 position, with growth improving from recent quarters. The company continued to receive a boost from shipments to India as part of a large education project. Shipment trends also improved in the US and EMEA, but HP continued to face struggles in Latin America.

Dell saw its first positive year-on-year growth since the fourth quarter of 2011, thanks largely to maintaining growth in the Americas market. The company also managed to edge past 9.5 million units shipped in a quarter for the first time in over a year.

Acer Group continued to be affected by declines in shipments across all regions due to continued weakness in consumer PC spending. The firm nevertheless has remained aggressive in trying new form factors and hybrid devices.

Asus shared a similar predicament with Acer where despite a focus on new designs, its lack of corporate customer base has also limited its growth.

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