According to the latest report from IDC, worldwide PC shipments totaled 75.6 million units in the second quarter of 2013 (2Q13), down – 11.4 per cent compared to the same quarter in 2012 but slightly better than expected.
Total shipments were effectively right on forecasts of 75.4 million and growth of – 11.7 per cent, although Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) and Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan)(APeJ) were a few points below expectations with the difference made up in the United States.
The numbers reflect a market that is still struggling with the transition to touch-based systems running Windows 8 as well as justifying ultrabook prices in the face of economic pressures and competition from tablets and other devices. A silver lining is that a number of vendors and regions seemed to be focused on inventory reduction during the second quarter, which could reflect planned launches of new models as well as lower inventory going into the second half of the year. However, it also reflects some caution among vendors and the channels in the face of remaining challenges for PCs and more than a year of declining shipments.
“With second quarter growth so close to forecast, we are still looking for some improvement in growth during the second half of the year,” said Jay Chou, Senior Analyst, IDC Worldwide PC Tracker. “Slower growth in Europe and China reflect the risks, while the improved U.S. outlook reflects potential improvement. Still, the weakness in emerging markets is a threat to a core long-term growth area. In addition, while efforts by the PC ecosystem to bring down price points and embrace touch computing should make PCs more attractive, a lot still needs to be done in launching attractive products and addressing competition from devices like tablets.”
One positive sign is that HP and Dell saw growth improve over recent quarters, possibly indicating stronger performance in coming quarters and reflecting more commercial replacements as we get closer to the end of Windows XP support. Market leader Lenovo also grew faster than the market (as well as faster than HP and Dell) although Lenovo growth slipped below zero at -1.4 per cent and was down from prior quarters. Slow growth for Lenovo reflects the company’s focus on China, which represents over 50 per cent of Lenovo shipments, and where short-term economic and inventory hurdles cut into 2Q13 shipments.
“The U.S. market is beginning to reflect some of the Windows XP to Windows 7 transition we’ve been expecting in the commercial PC space, as evidenced by the strong growth in the enterprise-focused Dell PC business,” said Bob O’Donnell, Program Vice President, Clients and Displays. “We’re also starting to see more stabilization in shipments, which we think is a reflection of PC lifetimes finally starting to even out after a long period of gradual increase. The end result should be more PC replacements, even if consumers and companies are selective in making replacements and wait until PCs are older before replacing them.”