PC growth slows as Lenovo jumps to world no. 2

Poor PC sales in Western Europe have pushed global shipments lower than expected, according to Gartner research.

PC growth slows as Lenovo jumps to world no. 2

Worldwide shipments grew by 3.2% to 92 million units in Q3, lower than earlier projections of 5.1%.

Gartner said the poor showing, echoed by figures from rival research firm IDC, could be attributed to tightened budgets and increased demand for new formats, such as tablet computers.

“The inventory build-up, which slowed growth the last four quarters, mostly cleared out during the third quarter of this year, but 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.”

Lenovo has now outpaced the market by more than 10% for the past nine quarters, and by 20% or more in six of these periods

Gartner’s figures compared with global Q3 growth estimates of 3.6% from IDC, one point below its predictions and the company said that vendors would need to adapt to changing expectations from consumers and business buyers.

“Most vendors continue to struggle with the slow market environment and product changes,” said Loren Loverde, IDC vice president of Worldwide Consumer Device Trackers. “Although we don’t see media tablets and other devices replacing PCs, questions on how products will evolve, and consumer interest in these and other categories are providing a distraction.”

Lenovo bucks trend

Some companies are riding the storm better than others. Lenovo jumped to second in the overall sales ranking with both research groups, trailing only market leader HP in terms of units sold.

According to IDC, Lenovo shipped 12.5 million units in Q3, a growth of 36%. “Lenovo experienced strong gains across all regions as it continues its channel expansion and capitalises on disarray among the other top players,” IDC said. “Lenovo has now outpaced the market by more than 10% for the past nine quarters, and by 20% or more in six of these periods.

“Lenovo’s partnership with NEC and the acquisition of Medion added incremental volume and provided new access to the Japanese and Western European markets.”

According to IDC, the company now holds 13.7% of the worldwide market, behind HP’s 18.1%, but pulling away from Dell (12%), Acer (10%) and Asus (6.5%).

The news sparked a round of back-slapping among Lenovo staffers, with executives promising more to come. “We are growing in the enterprise and the consumer space – and our customers know we are fully committed to the PC market for the long term,” said Lenovo CEO Yuanqing Yang. 

“At the same time, we will continue to invest in innovative products that will help drive the convergence of technologies and services across all four screens – smartphones, tablets, PCs and smart TV.”

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