Resellers and retailers around the world were emptying their shelves to make way for mobile, tablet computers as sales of PCs stagnated, an analyst report found.
Gartner’s preliminary global PC figures for the March quarter showed a disappointing 2.3 percent growth in shipments to a little more than 85 million units.
Initially expecting growth of about 6.7 percent, Gartner said the PC market was in a period of “adjustment” since the middle of last year.
"After strong growth in shipments of consumer PCs for four years, driven by strong demand for mini-notebooks and low-priced consumer notebooks, the market is shifting to modest but steady growth,” said Gartner principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa.
The biggest drag on global figures was from the US, which saw a 5.6 percent fall in PC sales to 16.9 million due to poor consumer sentiment.
"Given the hype around media tablets such as the iPad, retailers were very conservative in placing orders for PCs. Instead, they wanted to secure space for media tablets,” Kitagawa said.
“Some PC vendors had to lower their inventory through promotions, while others slimmed their product lines at retailers.”
PC and mobile phone makers have rushed to release tablet computers since the beginning of the year in a market dominated by Apple. Dell, Samsung, LG, HTC, ViewSonic, HP, Research in Motion, Motorola, Acer and Asus were among the major players that included smaller makers including Australia's Pioneer Computing that were jockeying for position in the crowded market. Most of the devices ran either Google's Chrome or a flavour of Microsoft's Windows 7 operating systems.
But professional sales in the US improved, Gartner found.
Another struggling market was Europe, the Middle East and Africa where there was a 4.8 percent fall in PC sales. Gartner pointed to weakness in Western Europe, in big part to problems in southern Europe where retail channels were pessimistic.
Only France and Germany saw stronger end-of-quarter shipments as channels flushed out their inventories.
On the upside, 30.5 million units were sold in the Asia Pacific in the quarter, 9.6 percent more than for the same period last year. China provided much of the impetus with growth of 10.9 percent. Japan also fared well with a 5.5 percent increase in PC shipments although many shipments were delayed due to the Japan earthquake and tsunami.
Gartner reported mixed results in Asia as growth in India was lower than forecast, while south-east Asian countries suffered from late deliveries.
The other strongly performing market was South America that had a 15 percent increase in PC shipments to 9.2 million, driven by economically strong Brazil.
Hewlett Packard was the global market leader with 17.1 percent of sales, followed by Dell that snuck into second place for the first time since 2008 with 12.3 percent.
Third-placed Lenovo sold 12 percent of PCs followed by Acer that fell from second to fourth with 10.9 percent, weighed down by the declining fortunes of its high-volume business, Gartner said.
Gartner ranked Apple at No.7 globally, a result that did not consider sales of the vendor's iPad devices.
Copyright © CRN Australia . All rights reserved.
Issue: 315 | May 2013
Access CRN's extensive online resources including; email bulletins, community discussions and unique online news.
Processing registration... Please wait.
This process can take up to a minute to complete.
A confirmation email has been sent to your email address - SUPPLIED GOES EMAIL HERE. Please click on the link in the email to verify your email address. You need to verify your email before you can log on to the CRN website or start posting comments on articles.
If you do not receive your confirmation email within the next few minutes, it may be because the email has been captured by a junk mail filter. Please ensure you add the domain '@crn.com.au' to your white-listed senders.