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October 13, 2011

HP Remains Biggest PC Maker, Lenovo Moves Ahead of Dell

By Erin Harrison, Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives

Studies released by two independent research firms show that Hewlett-Packard (News - Alert) holds the No. 1 position terms of PC market share.

Chinese computer maker Lenovo moved up the ranks to become the world’s second largest PC maker and Dell dropped from second to third place, according to figures released for the third quarter by Gartner (News - Alert) and International Data Corporation.

HP, the No. 1 vendor based on global PC shipments, grew faster than the industry average, and its market share reached 17.7 percent in the third quarter of 2011, according to Gartner.

“Despite announcing in the middle of 2Q11 the potential spinoff of its PC business, HP experienced strong growth in the U.S., while outside the U.S. growth was relatively weak or average,” according to a statement issued by Gartner.

For the first time, Lenovo climbed to the hold the No. 2 spot, with its expansion boosted in part by the joint vendor with NEC (News - Alert) in Japan. “However, its aggressive marketing to both the professional and consumer PC markets accelerated its shipment volume,” Gartner said.

Although HP holds the top spot, Taiwan-based Asus, the fifth biggest PC maker, showed strong growth while HP’s was less impressive, with both research firms putting it at just 5.3 percent.

Overall, worldwide PC shipments increased by 3.6 percent in the third quarter of 2011 compared to the same quarter in 2010, according to figures released by IDC (News - Alert).

However, in the U.S., Gartner figures reveal PC shipments totaled 17.8 million units in the third quarter of 2011, a 1.1 percent increase from the third quarter of 2010. That said, the U.S. PC market experienced year-over-year growth for the first time in three quarters.

Even though the consumer market continued to be weak with below par back-to-school sales in the third quarter, “the inventory was kept mostly in check as industry expectations were relatively low,” Gartner said.

PCs have taken a backseat to a range of other devices competing for shrinking consumer and business budgets with media tablets and other devices emerging and gaining traction, according to Jay Chou, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker.

And while tablets are not expected to replace the PC, they are certainly a “distraction,” said Loren Loverde, IDC vice president of Worldwide Consumer Device Trackers.

“Although we don’t see media tablets and other devices replacing PCs, questions on how products will evolve, and consumer interest in these and other categories are providing a distraction. And while price remains critical, many users are delaying PC purchases for the moment,” Loverde said. “Although still, there are opportunities, as demonstrated by Lenovo’s (News - Alert) gains and we expect PCs to find stronger demand in the coming years.”

Erin Harrison is Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives, for TMC, where she oversees the company's strategic editorial initiatives, including the launch of several new print and online initiatives. She plays an active role in the print publications and TMCnet, covering IP communications, information technology and other related topics. To read more of Erin's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell
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