The New York Times
Three companies are pulling away from the pack in the PC business.
Counts of second-quarter personal computer shipments released Wednesday by two major analysis companies showed a slower-than-expected decline in PC shipments worldwide, with wealthy markets like the United States showing decent growth. But in poorer countries, alternatives such as low-cost tablets continued to affect PC sales.
The real surprise in the numbers was the relative strength of the three biggest PC makers — Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard and Dell — compared to the loss of market share by almost everyone else. Lenovo appeared to have solidified its lead as the world’s biggest PC maker, a title for which it contested with H.P. for several quarters.
One of the analysis companies, International Data Corporation, said worldwide PC shipments totaled 74.4 million units in the second quarter, a drop of 1.7 percent from the same quarter of 2013. The important United States market grew 6.9 percent, to 16.7 million units. Gartner put worldwide shipments at 75.8 million units, an increase of 0.1 percent, and United States shipments at 15.9 million units, up 7.4 percent.
Among the top five vendors, which also included Acer and Asus, global shipments rose 9.8 percent year-on-year, IDC said, while the rest of the market, made up of about 15 other computer companies, declined 18.5 percent. Gartner said companies not in the top five had a net decline in shipments of 13.8 percent.
IDC said Lenovo had 19.6 million units shipped to the world market, a rise of 15.1 percent. H.P. was second, with 13.6 million units, up 10.3 percent, and Dell was third at 10.4 million units, up 13.2 percent. Acer’s shipments fell 2.5 percent, to 6.1 million units, and Asus managed a 3.3 percent gain, to 4.6 million units.
Gartner’s percentages were much the same, though it scored an even steeper fall for Acer and a better performance for Asus. Even last quarter, according to both research companies, the companies outside the top five had 40 percent of the global PC market; now they are closer to a third. And the analysts expect them to fall further.
The better-than-expected overall performance for PC shipments was attributed to a number of factors, including strong business demand after the discontinuation of support for an older version of Microsoft’s Windows PC operating system, and consumer interest in lower-priced laptops.