PC Shipments at Lowest Levels Since Second Quarter of 2009 – Gartner

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 79.2 million units in the first quarter of 2013, a 11.2 percent decline from the first quarter of 2012, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. Global PC shipments went below 80 million units for the first time since the second quarter of 2009. All regions showed a decrease in shipments, with the EMEA region experiencing the steepest decline.

“In the first quarter of 2013, it was the fourth consecutive quarter that showed a drop in worldwide PC shipments,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. “Consumers are migrating content consumption from PCs to other connected devices, such as tablets and smartphones. Even emerging markets, where PC penetration is low, are not expected to be a strong growth area for PC vendors.

“Unlike the consumer PC segment, the professional PC market, which accounts for about half of overall PC shipments, has seen growth, driven by continuing PC refreshes. Despite the fact that some regions already passed the peak of PC refresh, overall professional PC demand continued to grow.”

HP and Lenovo were in a virtual tie for the top position in the first quarter of 2013 (see Table above). HP had a very challenging quarter, as it recorded its worst shipment decline since the acquisition of Compaq in 2003. HP’s consumer business negatively affected its overall shipment volume, but its professional business was also under attack by competitors.

Lenovo’s worldwide PC shipments were flat compared with a year ago. While its shipment growth rate exceeded the overall industry average, it was Lenovo’s slowest growth since the first quarter of 2009. The slowdown was attributed to a shipment decline in Asia/Pacific, where more than 50 percent of Lenovo’s PCs were shipped.

Dell also had a challenging quarter, registering a shipment decline in all regions except Japan. In Gartner’s preliminary view, Dell’s shipment growth in Japan was boosted by moderate demand, driven by a corporate refresh. Dell’s discussions about a possible leveraged buyout impacted shipments, as competitors aggressively attacked Dell’s position in the professional market.

In the U.S. market, PC shipments totaled 14.2 million units in the first quarter of 2013, a 9.6 percent decline from the first quarter of 2012 (see Table 2). It marked a record of six consecutive quarters of shipment declines.

“Although the overall economy had some upward momentum, it did not help buoy PC growth, suggesting the economic recovery is having little impact on PC market conditions,” Ms. Kitagawa said. “Similar to other mature markets, the U.S. will see the installed base of consumer PCs decrease going forward. This is because many of these systems will not be replaced with PCs; they will be displaced by other devices, or simply retired.”

Apple and Lenovo were the only vendors among the top five in the U.S. to experience PC shipment growth in the first quarter of 2013. HP held onto the top position, accounting for 24.2 percent of PC shipments in the U.S.; however, its shipments declined 23.3 percent from the first quarter of 2012.

PC shipments in EMEA totaled 23.3 million units in the first quarter of 2013, a 16 percent decline from the same period last year. It was the third consecutive quarter of declining shipments, and it was the steepest decline for the region since Gartner began tracking the region. Ongoing economic uncertainties in Southern European countries resulted in lower spending in those markets. Similar to other regions, consumers’ interest continues to focus on smartphones and tablets, rather than PCs.

In Asia/Pacific, PC shipments totaled 27.6 million units in the first quarter of 2013, a 10.3 percent decline from the first quarter of 2012. This region also experienced its strongest decline since Gartner began tracking PC shipments. Asia/Pacific buyers remained cautious in spending amid a fragile economic environment. Both China and India experienced year-over-year shipment declines.