PC Shipments decline in second quarter of 2012

Worldwide PC shipments declined in the second quarter of 2012 as a result of consumers waiting for the “next big thing” and an uncertain economy, two separate reports have found.

IDC and Gartner bared the bad news with both agreeing the market had declined by 0.1 percent compared to the same time last year. According to figures from Gartner, PC shipments totalled 87.5 million units meaning the PC market suffered through its seventh consecutive quarter of flat to single-digit growth.

IDC pointed out that the market was suffering as consumers remained cautious. Jay Chou, senior research analyst, said the Windows 8 launch date announcement plus a “broader communication” of new features in the OS were key steps that will “help to address uncertainty about new product availability and help consumers and channels plan their purchases”.

Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, added that consumers were less interested in spending on PCs as there were other technology product and services, such as the latest smartphones and media tablets.

She added that Intel’s Ultrabook, which manufacturers are still heavily investing in, also has the opportunity to create competition in the PC market later on down the line.

Vendor wise, HP scraped in at top place taking a 15 percent market share in this space. However, it wasn’t all good news, with the company’s revenue declining by 12.3 percent from the previous quarter, the analysts said.

In its report Gartner claimed the fall had stemmed from internal issues from the company’s organisational changes. It said HP’s PC business was not yet been back to pre re-structuring level.

And HP should also watch its back, with both analyst houses pinpointing Lenovo as a key competitor to the top dog. The company, which came in at second place, narrowed the gap between itself and HP considerably. Gartner  said this was down to its aggressive pricing strategy as well as a string of acquisitions.

Also making a huge impact in this sector was Asus, which grew the most in the second quarter, increasing its shipments by 38.6 percent. IDC said this was because the vendor had most of its volume in EMEA and Asia/Pacific as well as expanding channels and gaining share in other regions.

Regionally, the US saw a total of 15.9 million  PC shipments in the second quarter of 2012, a 5.7 percent decline from the same period last year. The slowdown in the US market was largely attributed to weak consumer spending on PCs.

However it was brighter in the EMEA region with PC shipments here totalling 25.1 million units in the second quarter of 2012, a 1.9 percent increase from the same period last year.

Western Europe saw very weak demand across all countries but especially Southern Europe. Consumer willingness to spend on PCs was furthered hindered by the growing eurozone economic crisis, Gartner said.

It added that although retailers again took a risk adverse approach, distributors could well have greater levels of inventory. It said this would hinder future growth of markets as Windows 8 and more Ultramobile notebooks arrive in the second half of 2012.

The Asia/Pacific PC market grew two percent, as shipments reached 31.8 million units, while in Latin America, PC shipments totalled 9.3 million units, a decline of 1.7 percent from the second quarter of last year.