Worldwide PC shipments surpassed 88.3 million units in the third quarter of 2010, a 7.6% increase from the third quarter of 2009, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. These third quarter results were below Gartner's earlier market outlook. Gartner had expected third quarter PC shipments to grow 12.7%.
"The major growth inhibitor in the third quarter of 2010 was softness in consumer PC demand in the U.S. and Western Europe. The third quarter historically is a strong consumer quarter, led by back-to-school sales," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "Consumer mobile PC demand, driven by low-priced notebooks, including mini-notebooks, slowed after very strong growth the past two years."
"Media tablet hype around devices such as the iPad has also affected consumer notebook growth by delaying some PC purchases, especially in the U.S. consumer market. Media tablets don't replace primary PCs, but they affect PC purchases in many ways," Kitagawa said. "At this stage, hype around media tablets has led consumers and the channels to take a 'wait and see' approach to buying a new device."
HP remained in the top worldwide position, but it experienced a slight decline in shipments in the quarter. HP experienced a 20 percent decline in shipments in Asia/Pacific as the company put a higher priority on profits in the region. In the U.S., the company was impacted by weak consumer growth.
Acer experienced a shipment decline of 1.7% in the third quarter. Dell showed solid growth across most regions. Overall, Dell benefited from the professional PC market refresh, but North America showed disappointing results. Lenovo showed the strongest growth among the top five vendors worldwide. The professional PC market helped boost Lenovo's growth in the U.S. and EMEA.
In the U.S., PC shipments surpassed 17.6 mn units in the third quarter of 2010, a 2.2 percent increase from the third quarter of 2009. Consumer mobile PC shipments were the weakest in the last several years.
"The weak back-to-school sales were not because students held off on PC purchases, but because nonstudent buyers, who normally are lured by massive back-to-school promotions, stayed away from PC purchases," Ms. Kitagawa said. "These buyers were influenced by media tablet introductions, as well as the still-gloomy economy, since these buyers do not have an immediate need to purchase a PC."
In the U.S. market, HP was the No. 1 vendor in the third quarter of 2010 as its shipments increased 2%. HP was impacted by consumer PC demand. Dell also had a challenging quarter. Apple had another strong quarter. Increasing traffic to Apple, associated with the iPad release (iPads are not included in Gartner's PC shipment statistics), as well as iMac and Mac Pro refreshes, contributed to the growth.
In EMEA, PC shipments totaled 27.3 million units in the third quarter of 2010, an increase of 7.3 percent from the same period last year. The Western Europe PC market slowed as professional buyers and consumers held back on PC purchases. Emerging markets in Central and Eastern Europe, and the Middle East and Africa experienced good growth, but it was not enough to offset weakness in Western Europe.
In Asia/Pacific, PC shipments reached 29.7 million units in the third quarter of 2010, a 10.5 percent increase from the third quarter of 2009. In the emerging markets, mobile PC demand in the consumer segment continued to grow unabated as mainstream notebooks continue to appeal to first-time PC buyers as well as those substituting notebooks for desktops. PC shipments in China in the third quarter of 2010 held steady at 62 percent of all PCs shipped in Asia/Pacific, growing 11.3 percent over the same quarter last year.
Latin American PC shipments totalled 8.2 mn units in the third quarter of 2010, a 9.9 percent increase from the third quarter of 2009. Back-to-school PC sales in Latin America were sluggish, and this transpired into fewer home mobile PC shipments. Consumers were searching for promotional sales that simply didn't materialize at retailers throughout the region.
PC shipments in Japan surpassed 3.6 million units in the third quarter of 2010, a 14.1 percent increase from the same period last year. Large deals in the enterprise and government sectors drove PC sales in the quarter. In the consumer market, replacement demand for primary PCs, both desktop and large-size mobile PCs, has continued to grow since the beginning of 2010.