PC Shipments In Q2 Falls Short Of Expectations

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PC shipments continued to grow in the second quarter but were below market expectations

Two sets of analyst figures confirmed that while the PC market continued to grow, actual sales figures did not meet analyst expectations.

Worldwide PC shipments surpassed 85.2 million units in the second quarter of 2011, a 2.3 percent increase from the same period last year, according to preliminary results by IT analytics firm Gartner.

However these results were below Gartner’s earlier projection for 6.7 percent growth.

HP Leads, Dell Follows

A similar report from IDC found worldwide PC shipments increased 2.6 percent in the second quarter of 2011, just short of IDC’s May projections for 2.9 percent growth and represent a combination of a hangover from the more than 20 percent growth in the first half of 2010 as well as competition from smartphones, other consumer products and pressure from lacklustre economic conditions.

Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Dell led worldwide PC growth, accounting for 17.4 percent and 12.3 percent, respectively, of worldwide PC shipments in the second quarter of 2011, according to research from Gartner.

The IDC report noted HP saw good growth in key emerging markets and also EMEA, but also had a slight drop in volume compared to the previous quarter, while Dell managed to slow the pace of declines in key markets compared to the first quarter, with good gains in key emerging markets.

According to IDC’s US PC tracker, HP, Dell and Apple held the top three spots, followed by Toshiba and Acer Group. Of the five, only Apple and Toshiba posted gains compared with 2Q10, with a 14.7 percent and 3.7 percent boost, respectively.

HP shipments declined slightly to 0.6 percent compared with the same period last year, while Dell dropped 10.2 percent. Acer Group posted a 25.4 percent decline.

“The US PC market continued to contract in 2Q11, largely as a result of three factors. The first is an ongoing contraction in the netbook market and related inventories. The second is the impact of 2Q10’s difficult-to-sustain 12 percent growth. And third, demand has softened as corporate buyers continue to focus on increasing share of their IT budget in new IT solutions such as cloud and virtualisation, and consumer interest shifts to media tablets,” said Rajani Singh, research analyst for IDC’s US Quarterly PC Tracker. “Given the weakness of 2H10, we expect a better market environment in 2H11 with mid-single digit growth rates in the third quarter’s back to school and fourth quarter’s holiday season.”

iMac Refreshment

Based on Gartner’s preliminary results for US PC shipments, Apple showed the strongest growth among the top-tier vendors in the US, as it climbed from fifth place to third, overtaking Acer and Toshiba. The preliminary findings show Apple’s performance far exceed the industry average partly driven by an iMac refreshment that attracted both consumers and buyers in the education sector.

“Given the hype around media tablets such as the iPad, retailers were very conservative in placing orders for PCs,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. “Instead, they wanted to secure space for media tablets. Some PC vendors had to lower their inventory through promotions, while others slimmed their product lines at retailers.”

Kitagawa said the professional PC sector was the bright spot in the US market, as large enterprises were in the middle of their refreshment purchase period, which started last year. “Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) were also at the peak of their refreshment periods,” she said. “Due to budgetary constraints, the public sector had a slow start in the second quarter of 2011, even though the second quarter is typically a period of high PC sales.”

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