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Global PC shipment growth sluggish at 2.3%

Figure is lower that the 6.7% predicted by Gartner for Q2 2011

Global PC shipment growth sluggish at 2.3%
Global PC shipments have been sluggish in Q2 2011 with 2.3% growth, well below the 6.7% predicted by Gartner.

Worldwide PC shipments saw an increase of 2.3% in the second quarter of 2011, surpassing 85.2 million, according to preliminary results by Gartner. Results are lower than the 6.7% growth predicted by Gartner.

PC shipments in EMEA totalled 23 million units in the second quarter of 2011, a 4.8% decline from the second quarter of 2010.

"After strong growth in shipments of consumer PCs for four years, driven by strong demand for mini-notebooks and low-priced consumer notebooks, the market is shifting to modest, but steady growth, said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "The slow overall growth indicates that the PC market is still in a period of adjustment, which began in the second half of 2010."

HP remains the world leader in PC shipments with 17.5% of worldwide PC shipments in the second quarter of 2011. The company performed better than the average in most regions, but was pulled down by its performance in Asia/Pacific.

HP achieved solid growth in the professional PC market internationally, but it continued to face challenges in the consumer segment. 

"Vendor's performances have become variable as they have had to deal with significant inventory build up, changes to their product mix, and the fact that growth has been coming mostly from emerging markets. Vendors are having to shift resources away from mature consumer markets. They are also invested in developing media tablets, many of which launched in the first half of 2011."

Dell is in second position for global PC shipments for the first time since Q4 2008. The company did well in Asia/Pacific, where it has been investing heavily.

Sales of professional PCs for corporate PC refresh's definitely boosted Dell's growth, Gartner said.

Lenovo experienced the strongest growth among the top-tier vendors, as shipments increased 22.5%. The company achieved strong growth in Asia/Pacific, the US and Latin America with both desktop and mobile PCs.

Acer sank in the top ten from the No 2 to the No 4 position in the worldwide PC market in the second quarter of 2011.

It had a great deal of inventory in the distribution channel in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. Acer's problems stemmed from its low-price, high-volume business model, which is no longer effective.

PC shipments in the US totalled 16.9 million units in the second quarter of 2011, a 5.6% decline from the second quarter of 2010. The major inhibitor was a weak consumer PC market.  

"Given the hype around media tablets such as the iPad, retailers were very conservative in placing orders for PCs. 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. Large enterprises were in the middle of their refresh purchase period, which started last year. Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) were also at the peak of their refresh periods. 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."

Apple showed the strongest growth among the top-tier vendors in the US, based on preliminary results, climbing from fifth place to third, overtaking both 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.

The consumer PC market in Western Europe remained weak, as consumer confidence was dented by continued economic problems in Southern Europe.

General feedback from retail channels remained pessimistic, especially in most of Southern Europe, with only France and Germany seeing stronger end-of-quarter shipments as channels cleaned out their inventory.

 In Asia/Pacific, PC shipments reached 30.5 million units in the second quarter of 2011, a 9.6% increase from 2011.

Individual market performances in the region were mixed, despite continued moderate growth in the region.

There were reports of channel inventory issues and delivery postponements in some Southeast Asian countries. India showed weaker-than-expected consumer demand, while China's PC market grew 10.9% year over year. China's growth was attributed to the release of pent-up demand for consumer PCs.

PC shipments in Japan grew 5.5% to 3.9 million units in the second quarter of 2011. The biggest contributor to growth in the professional market in the second quarter of 2011 was due to many of the shipments in the second quarter being postponed from March due to the earthquake and tsunami. In the consumer segment, demand for PCs to replace desktop PCs was the main driver of growth. All-in-one desktops and notebooks with large screens sold well at retail stores.

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