Global PC Shipments Fall Flat

Both IDC and Gartner agree: PC sales are sluggish as new form factors and economic challenges take their toll.

Analyst firms IDC and Gartner are both out with their respective second quarter worldwide PC shipment reports and the news is not good.

Gartner pegged global PC shipments at 87.5 million units for a 0.1 percent year over year decline, a figure echoed by IDC. The biggest drag on global shipments from a geographical perspective was the U.S.

According to Gartner, U.S PC shipments came in at 15.9 million units, for a 5.7 percent year over year decline. IDC paints a bleaker picture of the U.S. market with PC shipments down by 10.6 percent.

"The U.S. market suffered a double-digit contraction in the second quarter as market saturation and economic factors combine with anticipation of Windows 8 and other changes later in the year," " said David Daoud, research director, Personal Computing at IDC, in a statement. "In this context, consumers are delaying purchases, and vendors and retailers are slowing down their PC activities to clear existing inventories."

In contrast with the U.S., other regions of the world are seeing growing volumes of PC shipments. Gartner reported that in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) shipments grew by 1.9 percent to 25.1 million units. In Asia Pacific shipments hit 31.8 million units for a 2 percent annual growth rate.

"In the second quarter of 2012, the PC market suffered through its seventh consecutive quarter of flat to single-digit growth,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, in a statement. "Uncertainties in the economy in various regions, as well as consumers' low interest in PC purchases, were some of the key influencers of slow PC shipment growth."

Kitagawa noted that PCs are now a mature market that is highly saturated. In contrast, she noted that consumers are, however, interested in smartphones and media tablets. Intel's nascent efforts to jump-start interest in the ultrabook market so far are also not having a real impact on PC shipments either.

"Though Ultrabook was at first introduced in the market in 2011, the major promotion kicked off toward the end of 2Q12 with the IvyBridge-based Ultrabook release," Kitagawa said. "This segment is still in an early adopter's stage."

HP Leads

From a vendor perspective, both IDC and Gartner have anointed HP as the leader in global PC shipments. IDC indicated HP holds a 15.5 percent market share, while Gartner has them slightly lower at 14.9 percent. Both IDC and Gartner report that HP's PC shipment growth slipped in the second quarter of 2012. Gartner pegs HP's shipment decline at negative 12.1 percent, while IDC has it at negative 12.3 percent.

In contrast, number two PC vendor Lenovo is surging with a 25.2 percent growth rate for the second quarter according to IDC. Gartner pegs Lenovo's growth at a somewhat slower 14.9 percent growth rate.

Chart: Top 5 Worldwide PC Vendors, Market Share (unit shipments)Description: Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, July 11, 2012Note: IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker provides PC market data for over 80 countries by vendor, form factor, brand, processor brand and speed, sales channel and user segment. The research includes historical and forecast trend analysis as well as price band and installed base data.For more information, or to subscribe to the research, please contact Kathy Nagamine at 1-650-350-6423 or detail about this tracker can be found at: Q2 2012 PC data, 2Q12, 2012Q2, Desktop, Notebook, PCAuthor: IDCcharts powered by iCharts

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Tags: PC, PC sales, global IT

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