For the first time ever, Lenovo emerged as the No. 2 vendor of PC worldwide, eclipsing erstwhile Asus which dropped in the 5th spot amid reports of growth in shipments globally, Gartner reprots.
"The inventory buildup, which slowed growth the last four quarters, mostly cleared out during the third quarter of this year; however, the PC industry has been performing below normal seasonality," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "As expected, back-to-school PC sales were disappointing in mature markets, confirming that the consumer PC market continues to be weak. The popularity of non-PC devices, including media tablets, such as the iPad and smartphones, took consumers' spending away from PCs.
"As the PC market faced a slowdown, vendor consolidation has become a more apparent trend in the industry. Lenovo's recent merger with NEC, and its acquisition of Medion, as well as HP's announcement that it may spin off or sell its PC business, underlined this trend during the quarter."
HP, the No. 1 vendor based on global PC shipments, grew faster than the industry average, and its market share reached 17.7 percent in the third quarter of 2011 (see Table 1). Despite announcing in the middle of 2Q11 the potential spinoff of its PC business, HP experienced strong growth in the U.S., while outside the U.S., growth was relatively weak or average.
Lenovo became the second-largest PC vendor in the worldwide market for the first time. The company's expansion was boosted in part by the joint vendor with NEC in Japan. However, its aggressive marketing to both the professional and consumer PC markets accelerated its shipment volume.
Dell's performance was below the industry average in most regions, as the company faced intensified competition in the professional space, where Dell has been traditionally strong. Acer mostly cleared its inventory buildup in the EMEA region by the third quarter of 2011. However, channels have been adopting a conservative position in regard to placing orders following the inventory issues. Asus widened the gap with Toshiba, the sixth-largest vendor. Asus achieved strong growth in China.
In the U.S., PC shipments totaled 17.8 million units in the third quarter of 2011, a 1.1 percent increase from the third quarter of 2010. The U.S. PC market experienced year-over-year growth for the first time in three quarters. While the consumer market continued to be weak with disappointing back-to-school sales in the third quarter, the inventory was kept mostly in check as industry expectations were relatively low.
"The main contributor to the weak consumer PC market in the U.S. was intensified competition for consumers' money," Ms. Kitagawa said. "Media tablets and smartphones took center stage in the U.S. retail sector, and the expectation is for continuing demand for these devices throughout the holiday season."