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PC shipments grew 1.4% below forecast

Posted: 22 Jan 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:PC shipment? Vista? Dell? Lenovo? IDC?

Global PC shipments in the fourth quarter of 2006 hit 65.6 million, representing 8.7 percent growth, according to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. This was down from 9.1 percent growth in the third quarter and 1.4 percent below the forecasted 10.1 percent growth for the fourth quarter.

"This was a busy quarter, with the release of Vista for commercial users and the pending release for consumers on top of the ongoing transition to portables and a generally slowing market," said Loren Loverde, director of IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. "Add to that the changing pricing environment and segment dynamics and it was a very challenging quarter."

The regions of Asia Pacific (excluding Japan), Europe, Canada and Latin America continue to display growth for the segment, while shipments to the United States and Japan continue to decline, reported IDC. Slowing commercial sales constrained the growth of some market leaders and this impacted the U.S. and Japan markets, according to the research firm. Nonetheless, the retail and consumer markets remained relatively strongeven in more mature regions, despite pockets of slow growth.

"The U.S. market displayed an unseasonably weak performance, largely attributed to poor commercial demand, affecting vendors such as Dell and Lenovo," said David Daoud, manager of Personal Computing and PC Tracker Programs at IDC "However, the consumer notebook market was solid, essentially benefiting vendors active in the retail sector. The channels were also relatively healthy, taking advantage of low component prices and healthy demand in the SMB segment."

In terms of market performance, Dell maintained its lead but on a narrow margin. Meanwhile, companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Acer, Toshiba and Apple benefited from a combination of strong retail and consumer sales, portable PC adoption (notably in the consumer segment), and aggressive pricing.

Regarding the top segment players, Loverde said, "HP clearly was able to capitalize on the situation, solidifying its lead in worldwide quarterly shipments with a 3.4 percent share advantage over Dell, but it also reflects underlying pricing and segment trends that were tough on competitors such as Dell, Lenovo, Gateway and Fujitsu-Siemens."

Segment outlook
The Asia-Pacific region (excluding Japan) is up for steady growth, said IDC, although Taiwan falls short of forecasts partly due to a delayed government tender. The region continues to have a rosy outlook with China and India eyed as its key drivers, while political tensions in countries like Thailand remain a wild card. Meanwhile, EMEA also had continuous segment growth, benefiting from continued portable adoption and healthy consumer growth.

The United States experienced a slow fourth quarter as consumer demand remained weak and commercial demand slowed considerably. Meanwhile, Japan's shipments receded by more than 10 percent y-o-y as the pending release of Vista and competition from flat panel LCD TVs cut into consumer demand. Commercial demand fared better, maintaining shipment volume.

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