Lenovo ousts HP as top PC maker

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Lenovo ousts HP as top PC maker

HP has lost its crown as the world’s leading PC manufacturer, after a difficult year of falling PC sales and internal turmoil resulted in a Q3 sales drop just big enough to allow Lenovo to take over the number one position.

It marks the first time HP has not been in the number one spot since the third quarter of 2006. CEO Meg Whitman this year initiated a company-wide restructure which has seen the company struggle through mass staff redunancies, which will cost it $US3.3 billion over the next two years, and declining sales across most of its business divisions.

Lenovo has been creeping up the charts in the last year, first taking over Dell’s number 3 spot in Q3 2011. Last quarter, Q2 of 2012, it lost out to HP by a mere fraction, with 12.8 million units shipped and 14.7 percent of the market, posting 15 percent overall growth, to HP’s 13 million units and 14.9 percent market share, according to Gartner.

HP was unable to hold its position this quarter, Gartner found, suffering from an industry-wide PC slump which saw all shipments decline by 8.3 percent to 87.5 million units globally.

HP posted 13.6 million shipments for the quarter, owning 15.5 percent of the market. Lenovo managed to just barely top that, with 13.8 million units shipped to claim 15.7 percent of the market.

Third place Dell and fourth place Acer were both down also, dropping 14 and 10 percent respectively. Fifth place Asus managed to increase its shipments from the same period as last year, the only vendor alongside Lenovo to do so. Its shipments were up 12 percent to 6.4 million units.

The Asia-Pacific region fared better than most overall, with an industry-wide PC sales decline of 5.6 percent - second behind the best-performing Japan region which experienced a 5.4 percent drop. APAC PC shipments hit 31.3 million units this quarter.

The US suffered the most, with PC shipments falling 13.8 percent compared to Q3 of 2011, toalling 15.3 million units shipped.

"A continuing slowdown in consumer PC shipments played a big part in the overall PC market decline," said Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa in a statement. "The third quarter was also a transitional quarter before Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system release, so shipments were less vigorous as vendors and their channel partners liquidated inventory.

"Retailers were conservative in placing orders as they responded to weak back-to-school sales. By the end of September, retailers were focused on clearing out inventory in advance of the Windows 8 launch later this month," Kitagawa said.

"On the professional side, there was minimum impact from Windows 8 in the quarter because the professional market will not adopt Windows 8 PCs immediately after the release."

The Gartner figures are preliminary. Full validated results are yet to be announced.

HP hits back

Also released today was industry analyst IDC's preliminary Q3 PC market report. IDC's figures place HP at the top of the leaderboard, with 13.9 million shipments and 15.9 percent market share for the quarter.

According to IDC, Lenovo came in second with with 13.8 million units and 15.7 percent market share.

HP today said the IDC figures were more representative.

“While there are a variety of PC share reports in the market, some don’t measure the market in its entirety," HP said in a statement. "The IDC analysis includes the very important workstation segment and therefore is more comprehensive. In that IDC report, HP occupies the No. 1 position in PCs."

Dell, Acer and Asus followed, with 9.4 million units and 10.8 percent market share, 8.4 million units and 9.6 percent market share, and 6.3 million units and 7.3 percent market share, respectively. 

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