IDC: Global Q1 2012 PC Shipments Slightly Better Than Expected

HP leads, Lenovo units jump 43 percent to pass Dell and Acer for second place. HDD constraints still impact market.

Worldwide PC shipments slightly bested expectations for Q1 2012, rising 2.3 percent over the same period last year, according to researcher International Data Corp.’s (IDC) latest figures.

PC makers worldwide shipped a total of 87.1 million units during the period, IDC said.

In February, IDC forecast the PC market for Q1 2012 to slide .9 percent year-over-year based on constrained supplies of hard disk drives, a less than robust economic recovery, competition from tablets and smartphones and uncertainty over adoption of Microsoft Corp.’s Windows 8 platform later this year.

However, the researcher said that HDD limitations, while still formidable, did not retard the segment’s performance as drastically as initially feared, as PC makers managed inventory and absorbed price increases to maintain shipments.

Hewlett-Packard Co. remained the global PC shipment leader for Q1 2012, shipping some 15.7 million units for 18 percent of the market, according to IDC’s data. HP’s shipments grew 3.2 percent for the period when compared to the same quarter in 2011.

With 11.7 million units shipped during Q1 2012, Lenovo leaped over Acer and Dell Inc. to command second place at 13.4 percent of the market, representing a 43.7 percent year-over-year spike in shipments.

Dell held third place, shipping 10.1 million PCs for an 11.6 percent share while Acer slid to fourth place with 8.6 million units shipped for a 9.9 percent stake. Dell’s share dipped some 2.1 percent and Acer’s fell 3.7 percent when compared to the same period last year.

The researcher said that it expects global PC shipments to gain steam as the year goes on, sparked by a normalizing of HDD supply, an uptick in PC replacements and Windows 8.

“History has shown that periods of slower growth are followed by recovery as improving technologies make replacements as well as new purchases increasingly compelling,” said Loren Loverde, IDC vice president, Worldwide Consumer Device Trackers.

IDC attributed HP’s strong performance to gaining back share in key U.S. and European markets. It pegged Lenovo’s ascension to its ability to expand its reseller channel in the Americas and Europe while holding its ground in Asia Pacific, a region in which Dell’s fortunes tumbled by comparison. IDC blamed Acer’s slide on eroding channel relationships.

U.S. PC market sluggish

The overall U.S. PC market grew a scant 1 percent for Q1 2012 with 16.6 million units shipped, slowed mainly by hesitant commercial growth despite the introduction of new form factors, IDC said.

HP again held first place with 4.6 million units shipped for a 28 percent share of the segment. The vendor’s stake grew some 6.6 percent for the period.

Even though Dell’s share of the U.S. PC market fell 3.6 percent for the period, the vendor still held on to second place at 3.6 million units shipped for a 21.7 percent stake. Apple Computer Inc. finished in third place with 1.67 million PCs shipped for a 10 percent share of the market, IDC said.

"Slow growth in the U.S. shows that despite interesting and new form factors like all-in-one desktop PCs and Ultrabook-class notebook PCs, the market remains conservative and focused on replacements,” said Loverde.

“Commercial buyers are still cautious, while consumers are evaluating multiple products and may be waiting for the release of Microsoft Windows 8 later this year,” he said.

IDC said that it expects the U.S. PC market to remain flat or experience only minor growth this year.

“The U.S. PC market is likely to remain constrained at least until the launch of Windows 8, which is expected in the fourth quarter of 2012,” Loverde said.

TAGS: PC,Dell,HP,Lenovo,IDC,Acer,shipments

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