Tablets, smartphones dent PC shipments in second quarter

Worldwide PC shipments declined by 0.1 per cent during the second quarter, according to research firms Gartner and IDC

Tablets and smartphones continued to eat away at worldwide PC shipments, which remained flat during the second quarter, according to research released by Gartner.

Meanwhile, Lenovo inched closer to taking the top spot in PC shipments from Hewlett-Packard, which barely held on to the title of world's largest PC maker. Lenovo has been growing through acquisitions and aggressive pricing, Gartner said.

Worldwide PC shipments for all vendors totalled 87.5 million units, a decline of 0.1 per cent compared to the same quarter last year, Gartner said.

Consumers are spending less on PCs and more on smartphones and tablets, Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa said in a statement. The trend is more pronounced in developed countries where the PC market is highly saturated, he said.

Research firm IDC on Wednesday also reported a year-over-year decline of 0.1 per cent in worldwide PC shipments, a turnaround from its forecast in May of 2.1 per cent growth.

A slowing economy in China also hurt PC shipments, the research firms said.

PC shipments in the U.S. declined by 5.7 per cent year over year, and shipments in Latin America declined by 1.7 per cent, Gartner said. Factoring in Western Europe, overall shipments in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) grew by 1.9 per cent. Shipments in Asia-Pacific grew by 2 per cent, and shipments in Japan also grew by 2 per cent.

The slowdown has hurt chip makers as well as PC makers. Advanced Micro Devices reduced its revenue expectations earlier this week on poor consumer spending and weak sales in China and Europe. The company said its OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturing) business underperformed, indicating that PC makers bought fewer chips than expected.

Intel is making a push to revitalize PC shipments with ultrabooks, a category of thin and light laptops that became available starting in late 2011. Intel has poured millions into developing and promoting ultrabooks, but so far they have failed to reignite laptop shipments, Kitagawa said. Ultrabooks are at an early stage and a new batch based on Intel's third-generation Core processors are slowly becoming available.

But the second-quarter slowdown does not bode well for ultrabooks, nor Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 OS, due later this year, Gartner said.

HP shipped 13 million PCs in the quarter, a drop of 12.1 per cent, giving it a 14.9 per cent market share. Second-place Lenovo grew its shipments by 14.9 per cent to 12.8 million units, giving the Chinese PC maker a 14.7 per cent market share.

Acer took the third spot with 11 per cent market share and shipments of 9.6 million units, up 3.6 per cent. Dell's shipments fell by 11.5 per cent, putting it in fourth place ahead of Asus.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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Agam Shah

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