PC Industry Continues to Shrink as the Installed Base Restructures to Accommodate Tablets as the Primary Consumption Device
Worldwide PC shipments dropped to 76 million units in the second quarter of 2013, a 10.9 percent decrease from the same period last year, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. This marks the fifth consecutive quarter of declining shipments, which is the longest duration of decline in the PC market’s history.
All regions showed a decline compared to a year ago. The fall in the Asia/Pacific PC market continued, showing five consecutive quarters of the shipment decline, while the EMEA PC market registered two consecutive quarters of double-digit decline.
“We are seeing the PC market reduction directly tied to the shrinking installed base of PCs, as inexpensive tablets displace the low-end machines used primarily for consumption in mature and developed markets,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. “In emerging markets, inexpensive tablets have become the first computing device for many people, who at best are deferring the purchase of a PC. This is also accounting for the collapse of the mini notebook market.”
HP and Lenovo's neck-and-neck competition continued. This time, Lenovo was back in the top position by only a small difference in share (see Table 1). Lenovo showed mixed regional results, as it experienced strong growth in the Americas and EMEA, while showing a major decline in Asia/Pacific. Weakness in China was most likely the contributor of Lenovo’s shipment decline in the region as the majority of Lenovo’s volume came from China.
While HP was slightly behind Lenovo, HP is a market leader in key regions including the U.S., EMEA and Latin America. Asia/Pacific has been a weakness the last three years for HP, but preliminary second quarter results suggest an improvement of their performance in the region.
Dell’s shipments declined compared to a year ago, but its 2Q13 results showed a smaller decline than the past several quarters. Dell showed good growth in the U.S. and Japan, but struggled to increase shipments in Asia/Pacific and EMEA. Both Acer and ASUS showed steep declines compared to the second quarter last year. The decline was partly affected by their strategies to exit the mini-notebook market.
“While Windows 8 has been blamed by some as the reason for the PC market’s decline, we believe this is unfounded as it does not explain the sustained decline in PC shipments, nor does it explain Apple’s market performance,” Ms. Kitagawa said.
In the U.S. market, PC shipments totaled 15 million units in the second quarter of 2013, a 1.4 percent decline from the second quarter of 2012 (see Table 2). This decline was less than the past seven quarters, and the market grew 8.5 percent sequentially.
“Our preliminary results indicate that this reduced market decline was attributed to solid growth in the professional market,” Ms. Kitagawa said. “Three of the major professional PC suppliers, HP, Dell and Lenovo, all registered better than U.S. average growth rate. The end of Windows XP support potentially drove the remaining PC refresh in the U.S. professional market.”
PC shipments in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) were weakened in the second quarter of 2013, with a 16.8 per cent decline over the same period last year, marking the fifth consecutive quarter of decreasing shipments.
“The sharp decline in the second quarter of 2013 was partly due to the shift in usage patterns away from notebooks to tablets, and partly because the PC market was exposed to inventory reductions in the channel due to the start of the transition to new Haswell-based products,” said Isabelle Durand, principal research analyst at Gartner. “Touch-based notebooks still account for less than 10 per cent of the total consumer notebook shipments in the last quarter.”
“Shipment levels remained weak in Western Europe in the second quarter of 2013 as PC replacement rates continued to be extremely low, while the challenging economic environment is muting spending in consumer markets,” said Ms Durand. “Shipments in Eastern Europe also remained low as this is typically a quiet quarter for business buyers in the region, and consumers are predominantly looking for Android-based tablets. In the Middle East and Africa, tablet and smartphone adoption also continued to draw demand away from PCs in the second quarter of 2013.”
Despite the steep shipment decline, HP retained the top position in EMEA due to better results in the professional PC market. Lenovo was the only top five vendor to exhibit shipment growth, recording a fourth consecutive quarter of growth and taking second place in the EMEA PC vendor rankings in the second quarter of 2013.
Acer exhibited the worst performance of the second quarter with a shipment decline of 38.5 percent year-on-year. Most of Acer’s decline resulted from its portfolio shifting away from netbooks to Android tablets. ASUS also experienced a PC shipment decline in the second quarter 2013. The drop of its netbooks continued to impact its overall notebook results.
In Asia/Pacific, PC shipments surpassed 26.8 million units in the second quarter of 2013, an 11.5 percent decline from the first quarter of 2012. All country markets across the region showed weakness, but India performed slightly better due to a state PC tender fulfillment. China’s PC shipment remained weak as the consumer market was hampered with lack of new demand generation programs, such as subsidized PC program in the rural cities.
These results are preliminary. Final statistics will be available soon to clients of Gartner's PC Quarterly Statistics Worldwide by Region program. This program offers a comprehensive and timely picture of the worldwide PC market, allowing product planning, distribution, marketing and sales organizations to keep abreast of key issues and their future implications around the globe. Additional research can be found on Gartner's Computing Hardware section on Gartner's website at http://www.gartner.com/it/products/research/asset_129157_2395.jsp.
Rob van der Meulen
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