PC market fails to meet expectations

PC market fails to meet expectations

Despite seven percent local growth in shipped PC units for the third quarter of 2010 over the corresponding quarter last year, IDC analysts say it has been a tough second half year for this market.

“Expectations [were] that consumers would buy prior to the GST increase [and] that didn’t eventuate,” says analyst Liam Gunson. “That left the channel with stock they weren’t expecting to have.”

The analyst company says in Q3 this year 169,000 units were shipped, up from about 146,000 for the third quarter last year and well down on the 187,000 shipped in Q2. Of the 169,000 units shipped, the commercial PC segment accounted for about 79,000 units.

The market also declined by revenue, falling 16 percent quarter-on-quarter to $244 million (a drop of $2 million year-on-year).

According to IDC, “slow economic recovery hurt sentiments as enterprises scaled back on purchases, while small and medium businesses too felt the heat with growth there slowing down, bringing the overall market below forecasts”.

IDC expects 10 percent growth year-on-year in 2011, but warns the relatively strong growth experienced in the third quarter could be followed by a plateau in some areas of the PC market.

Enterprises and SMBs are beginning to consider upgrading PCs, but according to Gunson, “it’s a steady improvement, but not a massive rush”.

That improvement is also more visible in medium to large enterprises, as some small businesses are still struggling with budget constraints, says Gunson.

The market share of mini notebook PCs (netbooks) declined from 14 percent in the second half of 2009 and now sits between nine and 13 percent.

“We may see a little bit of a fight-back, as there is aggressive pricing out there,” Gunson says. “The decline on Q2 of 2010 isn’t necessarily representative of the overall trend. There is growth year-on-year. We’ll probably see some growth in 2011 but it is plateauing.”

Although IDC is yet to start tracking tablet sales, the analysts expect this market segment to grow. “As for the impact on laptops, we wouldn’t expect widespread cannibalisation but there may be some impact.”

Consumers have limited budgets and for many Gunson says it will still be a choice between the laptop and the tablet.

HP continued its reign at the top of the vendor rankings by units shipped, however the others in the top five underwent a reshuffle a year on from Q3 2009. Acer climbed from fourth to second place, with Toshiba falling from second to third.

Dell improved its ranking from fourth to third, while Apple took fifth place, previously occupied by Lenovo.

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