Worldwide PC shipments fell sharply in the third quarter of 2012 and China's Lenovo Group Ltd. overtook Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ: Quote) as the world's top PC vendor, according to preliminary results released Wednesday by information technology research firm Gartner, Inc. (IT).
Worldwide PC shipments in the third quarter fell 8.3% to 87.5 million units from 95.4 million units in the third quarter of last year, Gartner said.
"A continuing slowdown in consumer PC shipments played a big part in the overall PC market decline," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "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."
Gartner said Lenovo took the No. 1 position in worldwide PC shipments for the first time in the company's history, as its market share increased to 15.7%, while HP's global PC share declined to 15.5%.
According to Gartner, Lenovo shipped 13.8 million PC units in the third quarter, up 9.8% from a year earlier, while HP's worldwide PC shipments fell 16.4% to 13.6 million units. Dell was in the third position and Taiwan's Acer Group was in the fourth position, with market share of 10.5% and 9.9%, respectively.
HP has lost its position as the world's top PC vendor for the first time since the third quarter of 2006 when it took the world PC lead from arch rival Dell, Inc. (DELL: Quote).
HP is currently restructuring its device business, including PCs, tablets and printers. On the other hand, Lenovo has achieved significant market share gains over the last two years, thanks to its aggressive pricing strategy and acquisitions. In fact, Lenovo became a big international player following its acquisition of International Business Machines Corp.'s (IBM) PC business in 2005.
However, data from another market research firm International Data Corp., or IDC, showed Wednesday that HP still holds the world's top PC vendor position, though by a slender margin. The IDC data showed that HP had a 15.9% share of the worldwide PC market in the third quarter, while Lenovo's share was 15.7%.
According IDC data, HP's worldwide PC shipments fell 16.4% in the third quarter, while Lenovo's shipments were up 10.2% from a year earlier. Like Gartner, the IDC data also showed Dell and Acer in the third and the fourth spot, respectively.
IDC said worldwide PC shipments fell 8.6% to 87.8 million units in the third quarter of 2012 from 96.1 million units in the third quarter of 2011.
"We expected a weak PC market in the lead up to Windows 8 release in the fourth quarter. While the industry has been focused on shaving excess inventory and preparing to launch a new generation of products, consumers have been looking at alternative devices like tablets. In addition, businesses have slowed their refresh cycle as they remain concerned about the broad economic outlook, amid a busy political season," said David Daoud, research director, Personal Computing at IDC. "Nevertheless, as vendors line up innovative new products and designs, consumers are likely to respond positively during the tail-end of 4Q12, and that means a potential return to positive growth at the end of this year."
Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT: Quote) Windows 8 operating system is scheduled for general availability on October 26. It is designed to work equally well on touchscreen devices and conventional ones.
HP shares closed Wednesday's regular trading session at $14.18, down 19 cents or 1.32%, but gained a penny in after hours trading.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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