PC Market Struggles Ahead Of Windows 8 Launch As Lenovo Nearly Catches HP for the Worldwide Market Leadership Position, According to IDC

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FRAMINGHAM, Mass., October 10, 2012 – The worldwide PC market contracted sharply in the third quarter of 2012 (3Q12), with shipments declining 8.6% from the third quarter of 2011, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. The results are below IDC’s August forecast of a 3.8% year-on-year market contraction.

IDC had expected a quiet quarter as channels focused on clearing out Windows 7 inventory to make space for Windows 8. Continued pressure from other products such as tablets and smartphones, as well as uncertainty over the impact of Windows 8 and the economic outlook, contributed to depressed shipments – largely as expected. Nevertheless, despite an already conservative outlook, the results show the vulnerability of PCs and the loss of mindshare among buyers who until recent years have flocked to back-to-school promotions in the third quarter for PCs. Familiar and persistent factors such as renewed economic issues and budget diversion into other devices also played a part. As a result, all regions saw shipment volumes decline from a year ago.

“PCs are going through a severe slump,” said Jay Chou, senior research analyst, Worldwide PC Tracker. “The industry had already weathered a rough second quarter, and now the third quarter was even worse. A weak global economy as well as questions about PC market saturation and delayed replacement cycles are certainly a factor, but the hard question of what is the ‘it’ product for PCs remain unanswered. While ultrabook prices have come down a little, there are still some significant challenges that will greet Windows 8 in the coming quarter.”

“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.” Read more…

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