Apple Computer Inc. shipped more than 15 million iPads and five million Macs in the fourth quarter of 2011 for a 17 percent share of the 120 million PCs shipped worldwide during the period and a six percent jump over the vendor’s totals for the same period last year, according to Canalys, a U.K.-based researcher.
In late November, 2011, Canalys predicted that strong sales of the iPad would vault Apple to the top of the PC standings ahead of Hewlett-Packard Co. before mid-year 2012. However, robust Q4 2011 sales of the iPad lifted Apple to a leadership position sooner than the researcher predicted.
Canalys said that tablets, which it calls pads, accounted for some 22 percent of total PC shipments in Q4 2011. The figure, including Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook, is significant to the researcher’s data because most firms do not include tablets in their PC shipment compilations.
For the quarter, the total PC market, including desktops, netbooks, notebooks, and pads, grew 16 percent when compared to the same period last year, Canalys said. Without pads, the PC market slid .4 percent year-over-year, the researcher said.
“The consumerization of IT continues to be a significant disruptive force in the PC industry, but many of the leading vendors have failed to capitalize on the trend to date,” said Tim Coulling, Canalys analyst.
“This year will be a pivotal year for those vendors that were slow to launch pads,” he said. “It is not just the product that they need to get right, business models are equally important - driving revenues from content delivery can help vendors reach lower price points in a market that is incredibly price sensitive.”
Canalys said that aside from Apple, only Lenovo increased its share during the period, albeit by two percentage points, while the market positions of Acer, Dell and HP all slid. The researcher attributed Lenovo’s climb to investments outside its core markets, such as its recent acquisition of Medion in Germany, which enabled it to double its shipment totals during the last six months of 2011.
The researcher predicted that HP, absent its TouchPad tablet, will have difficulty competing with Apple for PC leadership. It also said that Acer lost share owing to tablets taking sales normally held by netbooks.
“In the short term though, vendors will experience more pressure in the netbook and notebook segments, especially with Apple’s annual iPad refresh approaching,” said Michael Kauh, Canalys analyst.