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Global PC Shipments Have Bottomed Out After Suffering Worst Decline in Market History In 2013 – On Pace to Grow 7.6 Percent in 2014

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 82.6 million units in the fourth quarter of 2013, a 6.9 percent decline from the fourth quarter of 2012, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc — the seventh consecutive quarter of shipment decline.

“Although PC shipments continued to decline in the worldwide market in the fourth quarter, we increasingly believe markets, such as the U.S., have bottomed out as the adjustment to the installed base slows,” says Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. “Strong growth in tablets continued to negatively impact PC growth in emerging markets. In emerging markets, the first connected device for consumers is most likely a smartphone, and their first computing device is a tablet. As a result, the adoption of PCs in emerging markets will be slower as consumers skip PCs for tablets.”

HP and Lenovo have been virtually neck and neck for the top global position in the PC market throughout 2013. Lenovo took the lead in the fourth quarter, as it did last quarter, accounting for 18.1 percent of global PC shipments. Lenovo’s victory over the top position became apparent in 4Q13. Lenovo showed strong growth in all regions, except Asia/Pacific, where China continued to be a problematic country for the company. HP experienced a shipments decline of 7.2 percent in the fourth quarter. U.S. and Latin America were two regions where HP could not increase its shipments, and it experienced a steeper decline compared with the regional average (see Table 1).

Dell continued to maintain the third position and accounted for 11.8 percent of the market. With the completion of the leveraged buyout, Dell has redefined its strategic focus onto its PC and device businesses. Dell’s focus is now beyond its traditional strength in the professional PC market; its focus is now also on consumer PCs, particularly in emerging markets.

Acer and Asus’s ranking remained unchanged compared with a year ago. Both companies have more focus on tablets, and their fourth-quarter results clearly proved their strategic focus. Ms. Kitagawa said Acer has established a strong position in the Chromebook market, while Asus has built a solid reputation as a tablet vendor. PCs are still strategic products for both companies, but share gain is not the top priority for them.

In the U.S., PC shipments totaled 15.8 million units in the fourth quarter of 2013, a 7.5 percent decline from the fourth quarter of 2012 (see Table 2). Despite a 10.3 percent decline in shipments, HP continued to be the No. 1 vendor in the U.S., as it accounted for 26.5 percent of shipments.

“Holiday sales of technology products were strong in the U.S. market, but consumer spending during the holidays did not come back to PCs as tablets were one of the hottest holiday items,” says Ms. Kitagawa. “We think that the U.S. PC market has bottomed out. A variety of new form factors, such as hybrid notebooks, drew holiday shoppers’ attention, but the market size was very small at the time. Lowering the price point of thin and light products started encouraging the PC replacement and potentially some PC growth in 2014.”

PC shipments in EMEA totaled 25.8 million units in the fourth quarter of 2013, a 6.7 percent decline from the same period last year. However, the decline was less steep than the last seven quarters. All areas of the region — Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the Middle East and Africa — showed a shipment decline. Shipments in Eastern Europe were driven by the professional segment, as companies had to finalize IT spending for the year. Consumers replaced PCs only on a needed basis, as many new form factors had limited availability or were priced about the average vs. traditional notebooks. Tablets, especially Android-based, were a popular holiday present and average selling prices (ASPs) for them continued to decline and attract consumer spending.
PC shipments in Asia/Pacific totaled 26.5 million units in the fourth quarter of 2013, a 9.8 percent decline from the fourth quarter of 2012. Buyers did not place a priority on PC purchases, preferring to spend on alternative devices such as smartphones. Some continued to delay their purchases of a PC as their requirements, such as entertainment and information access, can be addressed by other devices, such as tablets.

For the year, PC shipments were 315.9 million units, a 10 percent decline from 2012 (see Table 3). This is the worst decline in PC market history, equal to the shipment level in 2009. Lenovo took over the top spot in the global PC market, accounting for 16.9 percent of the market. HP moved into the second spot after experiencing shipment decline of 9.3 percent.

Gartner Says Worldwide Traditional PC, Tablet, Ultramobile and Mobile Phone Shipments On Pace to Grow 7.6 Percent in 2014

Worldwide combined shipments of devices (PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones) are projected to reach 2.5 billion units in 2014, a 7.6 percent increase from 2013, according to Gartner, Inc. Among the operating system (OS) market, Android is on pace to surpass one billion users across all devices in 2014. By 2017, over 75 percent of Android’s volumes will come from emerging markets.

“The device market continues to evolve, with buyers deciding which combination of devices is required to meet their wants and needs. Mobile phones are a must have and will continue to grow but at a slower pace, with opportunities moving away from the top-end premium devices to mid-end basic products,” says Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner. “Meanwhile users continue to move away from the traditional PC (notebooks and desk-based) as it becomes more of a shared content creation tool, while the greater flexibility of tablets, hybrids and lighter notebooks address users’ increasingly different demands.”

Mobile phones are expected to dominate overall device shipments, with 1.9 billion mobile phones shipped in 2014, a five percent increase from 2013 (see Table 1). Ultramobiles, which include tablets, hybrids and clamshells, will take over as the main driver of growth in the devices market from 2014, with a growth rate of 54 percent.

“Complimentary smaller tablets will take over from the larger tablet form factors, providing the added mobility that consumers desire at a lower cost and will compete with hybrids for consumer attention,” says Mr. Atwal.

In 2014, the worldwide tablet market is forecast to grow 47 percent with lower average selling prices attracting new users. Consumers continue to buy tablets as an additional device that they carry everywhere. According to a recent consumer study that Gartner conducted in the third quarter of 2013 across Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, the U.K., the U.S. and Japan, over two-thirds of tablets were used outside the home for activities such as vacation or concert. This is a similar pattern to that of smartphones as smaller form factors are driving more portability outside the home.

Worldwide shipments of traditional PCs are forecast to total 278 million units in 2014, a seven percent decline from 2013. Driven by an uptake in Windows ultramobiles, the PC market is estimated to remain flat in 2014 (0.2 percent), after a decline of 9.9 percent in 2013. The Gartner consumer survey showed that less than eight per cent of users would replace their laptop with a tablet, while a transfer to an Ultrabook is almost twice this figure.

In the OS market, Android continues to be the OS of choice across all devices (see Table 2). Gartner estimates that Android will reach 1.1 billion users in 2014, a 26 percent increase from 2013. “There is no doubt that there is a volume versus value equation, with Android users also purchasing lower-cost devices compared to Apple users. Android holds the largest number of installed-base devices, with 1.9 billion in use in 2014, compared with 682 million iOS/Mac OS installed-base devices,” says Annette Zimmerman, principal analyst at Gartner.

Gartner’s market forecast data is detailed in “Forecast: PCs, Ultramobiles, and Mobile Phones, Worldwide, 2010-2017, 4Q13 Update” and available on the Gartner web site at:
http://www.gartner.com/doc/2639615

These results are preliminary. Final statistics will be available soon to clients of Gartner’s PC Quarterly Statistics Worldwide by Region program. This program offers a comprehensive and timely picture of the worldwide PC market, allowing product planning, distribution, marketing and sales organizations to keep abreast of key issues and their future implications around the globe. Additional research can be found on Gartner’s Computing Hardware section on Gartner’s website at:
http://www.gartner.com/it/products/research/asset_129157_2395.jsp

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