“Although PC shipments continued to decline in the worldwide market in the fourth quarter, we increasingly believe markets, such as the US, have bottomed out as the adjustment to the installed base slows,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. “Strong growth in tablets continued to negatively impact PC growth in emerging markets. In emerging markets, the first connected device for consumers is most likely a smartphone, and their first computing device is a tablet. As a result, the adoption of PCs in emerging markets will be slower as consumers skip PCs for tablets.”
HP and Lenovo have been virtually neck and neck for the top global position in the PC market throughout 2013. Lenovo took the lead in the fourth quarter, as it did last quarter, accounting for 18.1 per cent of global PC shipments. Lenovo’s victory over the top position became apparent in 4Q13. Lenovo showed strong growth in all regions, except Asia/Pacific, where China continued to be a problematic country for the company. HP experienced a shipments decline of 7.2 per cent in the fourth quarter. US and Latin America were two regions where HP could not increase its shipments, and it experienced a steeper decline compared with the regional average.
Dell continued to maintain the third position and accounted for 11.8 per cent of the market. With the completion of the leveraged buyout, Dell has redefined its strategic focus onto its PC and device businesses. Dell’s focus is now beyond its traditional strength in the professional PC market; its focus is now also on consumer PCs, particularly in emerging markets.
Acer and Asus’s ranking remained unchanged compared with a year ago. Both companies have more focus on tablets, and their fourth-quarter results clearly proved their strategic focus. Ms Kitagawa said Acer has established a strong position in the Chromebook market, while Asus has built a solid reputation as a tablet vendor. PCs are still strategic products for both companies, but share gain is not the top priority for them.
PC shipments in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa) totalled 26 million units in the fourth quarter of 2013, a decline of 6.7 per cent from the same period last year.
“The decline was less steep than the previous seven quarters, and we even saw PC shipments increase 17.7 per cent over the previous quarter in EMEA,” said Isabelle Durand, principal research analyst at Gartner. A good performance of consumer sales of laptops and ultrabooks led to quarter-over-quarter growth, as more hybrid ultramobiles were available at lower price points, which put pressure on the premium tablet market. “This confirms the ongoing transition in the market, but it may also signal that we are reaching the end of a period of readjustment in EMEA that started two years ago,” added Ms Durand.
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