Shipments of personal computers (PC) reached 30.5 million units in the Asia/Pacific region in the second quarter of 2011, increasing 9.6 per cent over the year ago period even as India showed weaker-than-expected consumer demand while China's PC market grew 10.9 per cent year-on- year, according to research firm Gartner.
In the same quarter, worldwide PC shipments surpassed 85.2 million units, inching up 2.3 per cent from the same period last year.
"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," he added.
The preliminary report by Gartner showed Apple had the strongest growth among the top-tier vendors in the US, as it climbed from fifth place to third spot, overtaking Acer and Toshiba. Apple's performance far exceeds the industry average, partly driven by a refreshed version of iMac that attracted both consumers and buyers in the education sector.
HP has continued to be the worldwide leader, as it accounted for 17.5 per cent of worldwide PC shipments in the second quarter of 2011. The company performed better than average in most regions, but it was pulled down by its performance in Asia/Pacific. Globally, HP achieved solid growth in the professional PC market, but it continued to face challenges in the consumer segment.
On the other hand, Dell has moved into second place in the worldwide PC market for the first time since the fourth quarter of 2008. While Dell performed well in Asia/Pacific, Lenovo experienced the strongest growth among the top-tier vendors in the region, as its shipments increased 22.5 per cent. Lenovo achieved strong growth in Asia/Pacific, the US and Latin America with both desktop and mobile PCs.
Acer dropped from 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 and its problems stemmed from its low-price, high-volume business model, which is no longer effective, the report said.
In the US, PC shipments totalled 16.9 million units in the second quarter of 2011, a 5.6 per cent decline from the second quarter of 2010. The major inhibitor was clearly 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," said Kitagawa.
But the professional PC sector was the bright spot in the US market. "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. 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," added Kitagawa.