Sales of PCs shrink

Sales of PCs in Western countries has continued to shrink, and it if was not for developing markets would be in decline.

According to beancounters at IDC, sales of PCs in the second quarter of 2011 grew by just 2.6 percent worldwide year-on-year to 84.41million.

Numbers shrank in the US and Europe shrank by 4.2 per cent, IDC said.

In the three months from April, HP, Dell and Lenovo took the top three spots with 15.2 million, 10.9 million and 10.3 million shipments.

Netbook sales have continued to slow, with HP and Dell being static. Lenovo grew sales by 23 percent. Acer fell by 10 percent to fourth place overall, shipping a total of 9.1 million PCs. Asus was fifth with 4.4 million shipments.

So far, the total number of PCs shipped worldwide this year is the same at this point as in 2010. IDC revised its forecast in June to suggest that the total number of PCs shipped this year will grow only 4.2 percent this year, having in February suggested a figure of 7.1 percent.

Now it seems that things will get worse. IDC says that the US market is still down, while the Europe, Middle East and Africa region contracted due to high levels of inventory.

In the budget market, IDC thinks that it sees a cannibalisation from media tablets and smartphones.

Sales in Japan grew by three percent, more than the worldwide market, despite the earthquake in March, as prices fell which encouraged consumer sales. China and India saw double-digit growth, balancing out dips elsewhere.

Rajani Singh, research analyst with IDC’s United States Quarterly PC Tracker, said in a statement that the US PC market was suffering because of an ongoing contraction in the Netbook market.

Last year there was a difficult-to-sustain 12 percent growth and this was making this year’s figures look bad.

He said that corporate buyers are spending money on new IT ideas such as cloud and virtualisation, while consumer interest shifts to tablets.

Singh expects a better market environment in the second half of 2011 with mid-single digit growth rates in the third quarter’s back to school and fourth quarter’s holidays.