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NZ records.PC market growth

Research houses IDC and Gartner have released their latest PC market reports. Heather Wright looks at the results.

The ANZ PC market got off to a bad start in 2012, recording its worst quarter since 2010 according to IDC figures, but New Zealand bucked the trend to record growth and the promise of recovery after a year of contraction.

However, New Zealand’s 10% sequential growth in Q1 2012 was overshadowed by a 12% drop in Australia which saw the overall ANZ PC market slump to 1.55 million units shipped. Of those, 200,000 were shipped in New Zealand.

IDC says the PC market in New Zealand is showing signs of recovery after a year of contraction in 2011. Consumer, SMB and education were the largest growth sectors, given the back-to-school and back-to-work seasonality in Q1.

HP recorded strong sequential growth in unit terms, but lost share as competitors such as Acer and Toshiba were also able to leverage the improving market conditions to regain share in retail. Nonetheless, HP took 37% of market share in Q1, to remain solidly in top spot, followed by Acer at 13% and Apple and Toshiba, both at 10%. Dell rounded out the top five, with 8%.

In Australia HP also heads the table, with 19%, followed by Apple and Acer on 14%, Dell on 13% and Lenovo on 9%.

Aussie woes

IDC says global economic uncertainties, carbon tax initiation and high interest rates continued to weigh down consumer and business sentiment in Australia, with consumer spending tightening and retail seeing ‘a significant deterioration in sell-through performance, thus causing large inventory build-up in channels’.

The hype and novelty of Ultrabooks failed to elevate the market due in part to their high price points and, despite the marketing push by both vendors and Intel, Ultrabook stock levels remained high by the end of the quarter.

Commercial spending also reduced as firms focused on managing costs, while education spending declined with the end of the Digital Education Revolution programme. The impending release of new generation Intel processors further contributed to the delay in PC refreshes.

IDC is predicting market softness for ANZ will continue into Q2, forecasting for the quarter to remain flat sequentially.

Gartner Q2 prelims

Meanwhile, Gartner has released its preliminary Q2 results, noting that worldwide shipments declined 0.1% over the same quarter last year, down to 87.5 million units, while in Asia Pacific shipments increased only 2%, to 31.8 million units.

The research company says the weak US and European economic situation, coupled with the slowing economy in China, affected the region’s market sentiments, with people scaling back on spending due to the uncertainties.

While the professional segment tightened budgets, a lack of new government initiatives also hindered the market, while consumers either spent on alternative devices or remained cautious on discretionary spending, Gartner says.

Country-level data isn’t available until later this month.

Mikato Kitagawa, Gartner principal analyst, says Ultrabooks had little impact on overall shipments in the quarter, despite high expectations with shipment volume ‘small’ and the market still in the early adopter’s stage.

“Consumers are less interested in spending on PCs as there are other technology product and services, such as the latest smartphones and media tablets, that they are purchasing,” Kitagawa says. “This is more of a trend in the mature markets as PCs are highly saturated in these markets.”

Gartner’s figures put HP in top position worldwide, accounting for 14.9% of the market, despite its shipments declining 12.1%. “Some of HP’s disappointing results were due to internal issues from organisational changes,” Gartner says. “HP’s PC business has not been back to pre-restructuring level yet.” Aggressive pricing from Lenovo in the professional market, and threats from companies such as ASUS and Samsung in the already crowded consumer market also dampened HP’s shipments.

Lenovo’s aggressive expansion saw the company signficantly narrow the market share gap with HP and take second spot in the worldwide shipping estimates for Q2 2012, with 14.7%, up 14.9% on the same period in 2011.

Acer took third with 11% (+3.6%), followed Dell on 10.7% (-11.5%) and ASUS on 7.0% (+38.6%).

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