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Gartner reports PC slowdown in Q1

Posted: 19 Apr 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:PC shipments? consumer PC demand? media tablets? professional PC? segment growth?

Preliminary results provided by Gartner Inc. show that global PC shipments in the first quarter of 2011 amounted to 84.3 million units, down 1.1 percent from the first quarter of 2010. According to the market research firm, the figure falls short of its original 1Q11 growth forecast of 3 percent.

Gartner counts personal computers as desk-based PCs, mobile PCs, including notebooks and mini-notebooks, but not media tablets such as the Apple iPad.

Although the first quarter is traditionally a slow one for PC sales, this figure represents a year-on-year slowdown.

Steady growth in the professional PC sector, driven by the replacement cycle, did not make up for sluggishness in consumer spending as home computer users either deferred spending or bought into the tablet form factor.

"Weak demand for consumer PCs was the biggest inhibitor of growth," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, in a statement. "Low prices for consumer PCs, which had long stimulated growth, no longer attracted buyers. Instead, consumers turned their attention to media tablets and other consumer electronics. With the launch of the iPad2 in February, more consumers either switched to buying an alternative device, or simply held back from buying PCs. We're investigating whether this trend is likely to have a long-term effect on the PC market."

Without the professional segment growth, the PC market could have experienced one of the worst declines in its recent history. Replacement sales will generally continue into late 2011 or the start of 2012, with some variations between different regions and market segments.

PC shipments estimate

Data includes desk-based PCs, mobile PCs, including mini-notebooks, but not media tablet such as the iPad.

HP performed below the worldwide average, but maintained the No. 1 position, accounting for 17.6 percent of worldwide PC shipments in the first quarter of 2011. Weak consumer PC demand, as well as growing issues in Asia Pacific impacted the PC maker. Meanwhile, Acer continued to face challenges as media tablets continued to affect the mini-notebook market and its shipments declined 12.2 percent.

In the first quarter of 2011, Dell experienced a shipment decline year-over-year for the first time in six quarters. Dell underperformed in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), and Latin America, but it achieved strong growth in Asia Pacific. Lenovo experienced the strongest growth among the top five vendors (16.6 percent) as it continued to price its products very competitively in both the consumer and professional sectors. It achieved strong growth across all regions.

In the U.S., PC shipments totaled 16.1 million units in the first quarter of 2011, a 6.1 percent decline from the first quarter of 2010.

- Peter Clarke
??EE Times

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