FRAMINGHAM, MA – Worldwide PC shipments totaled 78.5 million units in the third quarter, down 1.7%, says International Data Corp.
Commercial PC purchases played a key role in many markets, with the top three vendors – Lenovo, HP, and Dell – all showing solid year-over -year growth.
Conversely, fierce competition and a spiral toward tablet-like prices helped further consolidate the market. Shipments of entry systems, including Chromebooks, continued to inject an important source of volume and sustained improved consumer demand in certain markets over recent quarters, says IDC.
On a geographic basis, mature markets still drove the market, with North America and parts of Europe seeing significant improvements across segments. Although Windows XP migrations have slowed, an improved business outlook, tablet saturation in some markets, and expanded offerings of competitive notebooks have factored in recent positive trends, the firm adds.
Emerging regions as a whole proved disappointing, although stronger than expected consumer demand in Asia/Pacific provided a silver lining.
With shipments totaling 17.3 million PCs in the third quarter, the US market grew 4.3% from the same quarter a year ago and 2.6% from the previous quarter. Growth centered in strong momentum from the portables category, which grew by more than 9% year-over-year. Desktop shipments were relatively sluggish this quarter and growth remained in negative territory.
The PC market in Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) saw another positive quarter with preparations for holiday sales fueling growth in shipments. Windows 8.1 with Bing notebooks contributed to higher sell-in numbers on portable PCs, particularly in the consumer space.
Although demand related to the end of Windows XP support started to disappear, commercial shipments remained stable. Markets in Western Europe continued to drive the overall growth in EMEA, while shipments in the CEMA region remained constrained by economic and political instability.
Volume was better than expected in Japan, although growth remained deeply negative. As expected, the volume of commercial activity slowed considerably, as many Windows XP projects came to completion. None of the top vendors saw either year-over-year or sequential growth, with market leader Lenovo falling below 900,000 units for the first time since the fourth quarter of 2012.
Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) still saw a decline compared to last year, but the region outperformed expectations. Modest economic growth in developed markets like Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore helped PC purchases to remain healthy. Stronger consumer demand for back-to-school season also helped to offset the lack of large public deals shown in the previous quarter. A transitioning period in the political climate in Southeast Asia caused lower public spending, as expected. In China, public sector projects executed as part of the five-year plan and the improving US economy helped, and likely brought China's total PC shipments up to slightly higher than forecast levels.
Lenovo held a comfortable lead as the top PC supplier, hitting another record volume of 15.7 million units. The vendor managed to regain growth in Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan), as well as maintain its strong pace of expansion and growth in EMEA.
HP shipped 14.7 million units and remained in the number two position, with growth surpassing 5%. EMEA and mature markets continued to be the vendor's primary sources of growth, as were some last-minute public sector notebook shipments.
Dell shipped over 10 million units, growing 9.7% on the year, much of it based on a strong performance in notebooks in the US and Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan).
Acer grew over 11%, in part due to low volume a year ago but also from the success of its Chromebooks and entry-level notebooks.
Apple moved into the number five position on a worldwide basis, slightly overtaking ASUS. The company's growth, along with recent price cuts and improved demand in mature markets, has helped it to consistently outgrow the market, says IDC.