by January 12, 2012 0 comments



After two quarters of positive growth, worldwide PC shipments totaled 92.2 million units in the fourth
quarter of 2011, a 1.4 percent decline from the fourth quarter of 2010, according to preliminary
results by Gartner, Inc. These figures were in line with Gartner’s earlier forecast of a 1 percent
decline for the fourth quarter of 2011.

“Continuously low consumer PC demand resulted in weak holiday PC shipments,” said Mikako
Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. “While economic uncertainty in Western Europe had an effect
on consumer PC shipments, expectations of a healthier economic outlook in North America could
not stimulate consumer PC demand in that region. The healthy professional PC market as well as
growth in emerging markets could not compensate for the weaknesses in mature markets, with
overall growth still negative.”

Hard-disk drive (HDD) shortages triggered by the October 2011 floods in Thailand had a limited
impact on fourth-quarter PC shipments and prices. However, Gartner analysts said a major impact
will be felt, and this is expected to materialize in the first half of 2012, and potentially continue
throughout 2012. These shortages will temporarily lower PC shipment growth during 2012.

“Ultrabooks were quietly introduced into the market during the 4Q11 holiday season,” Ms. Kitagawa
said. “Ultrabooks didn’t seem to draw consumers’ attention. Consumers had very little understanding
and awareness of ultrabooks, and only a small group of consumers was willing to pay the price
premium for such models. However, as has been seen this week at the International Consumer
Electronics Show (CES) show, 2012 is a big debut stage for ultrabooks.”

HP retained its No. 1 position in the fourth quarter of 2011, despite a shipment decline of 16.2
percent year over year. While the company’s new CEO, Meg Whitman, cleared up some confusion
surrounding its PC business, its 4Q11 results were affected by the noise around this issue. HP also
had to battle against aggressive pricing from competitors and deal with weak consumer PC demand
in the holiday season.

Lenovo experienced the strongest growth among the top five vendors, as its PC shipments grew 23
percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, and it further cemented its place as the No. 2 vendor in global
PC shipments. The company’s growth was attributed to its aggressive pricing in both the
professional and consumer markets.

Dell had a good quarter with shipment growth in most regions. While the consumer market remained a weak point, Dell enjoyed stable growth in the professional sector, driven by upgrades to Windows 7. Asia/Pacific continued to be the major growth market for Dell, as it achieved 30 percent growth in the region. Asus stayed in the No. 5 position despite generally weak consumer sales. Asus’s shift from mini-notebooks to regular notebooks was successful, as close to 80 percent of Asus mobile
PCs shipments were regular notebooks in the fourth quarter of 2011.

In the U.S., PC shipments totaled 17.9 million units, a 5.9 percent decline compared with the same
quarter last year . U.S. holiday sales were not all that exciting for PC vendors. As expected,
consumers’ attention was diverted toward other product categories, especially smartphones and
media tablets. All-in-one (AIO) desktop PCs drew consumers’ attention during the holiday season.
The main attractions were large screen sizes and high-definition viewing capability.

HP maintained the No. 1 position in the U.S. PC market in the fourth quarter of 2011, but Dell gained
ground as HP lost substantial market share in the quarter. Apple enjoyed the strongest growth
among the top five vendors. Lenovo’s U.S. PC shipments grew 40 percent year-over-year, but its
shipment volume was not enough to squeeze into the top five ranking (it was in the sixth position).

PC shipments in EMEA totaled 28.9 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011, a 9.6 percent decline
from the same period in 2010. The EMEA PC market experienced its fourth consecutive quarter of
decline, resulting in year-end 2011 shipments decreasing 7.2 percent from 2010. Western Europe
saw weak consumer growth, as an uneasy economic environment squeezed consumer spending on
PCs.

In Asia/Pacific, PC shipments reached 30.4 million units, an 8.5 percent increase from the fourth
quarter of 2010. The market performance was below Gartner’s anticipated growth of 10.6 percent.
The preliminary findings show weaker shipment growth in China, India and Thailand.

The PC market in Latin America grew 11.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, as shipments
reached 9.3 million units. Because whitebox PC vendors make up a large portion of Latin America’s
PC market, last quarter Gartner expected Thailand’s HDD shortage to moderately affect growth in
Latin America in the near term. Thus far, anecdotal evidence indicates that many local vendors had
quickly ordered sufficient inventory to exit the fourth quarter unaffected.

PC shipments in Japan declined 2.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, as shipments totaled 3.9
million units. This was better than Gartner’s earlier projection of an 8 percent decline. The
professional market showed a high double-digit decline, while the consumer market saw
mid-single-digit growth.

For the year, worldwide PC shipments totaled 352.8 million units in 2011, a 0.5 percent increase
from 2010 (see Table 3). A weak consumer PC market, particularly in mature markets, was a major
contributor to this stagnation, despite good growth in the professional market. Emerging markets
grew steadily, driven by low initial PC penetration.

Among the top five PC vendors, Lenovo took over the No. 2 spot from Dell. Lenovo continued to gain
market share via aggressive pricing and acquisitions, namely of NEC and Medion. Asus climbed
from sixth to fifth, replacing Toshiba.

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