Market Overview

Conflicting PC Numbers Still Show a Market in Decline

Conflicting PC Numbers Still Show a Market in Decline

The latest PC numbers are out but they’re about as clear as mud. Two separate reports show different results but the one fact they do agree on is that the market is still in decline.

First, IDC reported worldwide PC shipments of 81.6 million units—better than expected, according to the report. However, there was a 7.6 percent year over year decline overall. There was a slight uptick in the enterprise and public sector markets which slowed the decline but the report described consumer demand as “lukewarm at best.”

Manufacturer, Lenovo saw a 2.2 percent year over year gain in market share while Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) was up 0.4 percent and Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) gained 0.3 percent. Sales in the Asia/Pacific region were of particular concern since emerging markets were seen as major growth regions going forward.

In the American market, Hewlett-Packard was the top manufacturer followed by Dell, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Lenovo and Toshiba. Overall, the U.S. PC market declined 0.2 percent, according to the report.

Gartner released its version of the numbers on Wednesday and they looked worse than IDC’s. Gartner reported worldwide shipments of 80.3 million units representing an 8.6 percent decline in the third quarter.

"The third quarter is often referred to as the 'back-to-school' quarter for PC sales, and sales this quarter dropped to their lowest volume since 2008," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. “A greater availability of inexpensive Android tablets attracted first-time consumers in emerging markets...”

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But there was a bright spot. In the United States, the PC market grew 3.5 percent over the 2012 third quarter and the report notes that the drastic U.S. declines are likely over. Like the IDC report, Gartner found that Lenovo was the worldwide market share leader with Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and Acer in the next three spots.

In the U.S., Hewlett-Packard held the most market share followed by Dell, Apple, Lenovo, and Toshiba.

Of particular note from both reports was Apple. The IDC report showed U.S. mac sales off 11.2 percent from the same quarter last year while the Gartner report reported a decline of 2.3 percent. Each, however, don’t include its growing share outside of the United States, according to AppleInsider.

So which report do you believe? Take your pick but neither report shows any real sign that the PC is staging a comeback.

Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Tim Parker was long Apple.


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