Lenovo PC dominance continues, as does market decline
Holiday shipments on target; enterprise shrinkage mitigated by migration from XP: IDC
Worldwide PC shipments totaled 82.2m units in the fourth quarter of 2013, representing a year-on-year contraction of 5.6%, a shade better than the forecast 6% downturn, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker.
For the full year 2013, unit shipments declined 10% from 2012, a record drop reflecting the changes in mobility and personal computing affecting the market. While commercial purchases helped to prevent a larger decline, the consumer side remained weak.
"The PC market again came in very close to expectations, but unfortunately failed to significantly change the trajectory of growth," said Loren Loverde, vice president, Worldwide PC Trackers, IDC.
"Total shipments have now declined for seven consecutive quarters, and even the holiday shopping season was unable to inspire a turn in consumer spending. Although US growth slipped a little in the fourth quarter, other regions all improved, reinforcing our view that growth rates will continue to improve gradually during 2014, despite remaining in negative territory."
"In the United States, market leader HP had a difficult quarter, contracting 12.3%, year on year, as the market slowed following an HP surge in the third quarter," said Rajani Singh, senior research analyst, Personal Computing, IDC.
"However, Asian majors like Lenovo and Samsung achieved strong double-digit growth, driven partly by a modest commercial uptick and partly due to retail acceptance of their emerging product categories, such as Chromebooks.
"Dell and Toshiba also managed mid single-digit growth, essentially coming from large corporate refreshes in the enterprise segment. Nevertheless, despite a dip in total shipments, the US market outperformed most other regions and the worldwide market as a whole for the fifth consecutive quarter, reflecting a relative degree of stabilisation."
The PC market in EMEA remained constrained in the final quarter of 2013. As expected, demand in the commercial segment was supported by year-end budget spending, with end of support for Windows XP deals contributing to even stronger shipments in the last three months of the year. As anticipated, the consumer market remained much more depressed, with shipments remaining soft amid ongoing weakness in demand, as tablets continued to attract end users.
With shipments totaling 17.1m PCs in Q4, the US market contracted by 1.6% from the same quarter a year ago. Consumers continued to take a wait-and-see approach, leading to delayed purchases. The migration from Windows XP to Windows 7 and 8 continued to drive some momentum in the enterprise sector and once again businesses fared better than consumers.
Volume was higher than expected in Japan, ending the fourth quarter with a jump in positive growth. Factors included continued progress in economic activity, favourable exchange rates, and Windows XP migration. Nevertheless, consumer shipments remained slow.
Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) showed market results that were close to forecasts, despite some unexpected weak spots, including consumer spending in India as well as Thailand, where political turmoil adversely impacted the market more than initially expected.
Lenovo expanded its lead in total worldwide shipments with particularly strong growth in EMEA, Japan, and Latin America. The firm has continued to stay aggressive with its breadth of products, flexibility, and focus on channel development. Growth in the US slowed, but remained ahead of other market leaders.
HP retained the number-two position, but its channels took a more cautious approach in key markets, and shipments in the US dropped by more than 12%, year on year. Fourth-quarter shipments were also down slightly from the third quarter, suggesting a clearing of inventory as well as slowing projects in Asia/Pacific.
Dell saw growth rise to 5.8% in Q4, compared to the previous year. The Americas continued to be a strong area for Dell, while shipments in Asia/Pacific also returned to positive growth.