Despite turbulent times, including weakening consumer demand and supply side challenges thanks to natural disasters, the Australia and New Zealand PC market grew 6% in 2011, with Australia’s education sector leading the charge.
IDC says 187,00 units were shipped in New Zealand, on par with its forecast, with flat year on year and sequential growth as IT spending lagged after the Rugby World Cup.
The industry analysts say ‘erratic performances’ by vendors were recorded throughout the year, reflecting a heavily supply-driven market with a cycle of aggressive promotions and subsequent quarterly drops in market share for individual vendors. “The pattern is particularly evident amongst key players like HP and Acer, with HP gaining share in Q4 as it drove aggressive discounting to capitalise on Christmas spending,” IDC says. “Acer, in contrast, dropped off following a large sell in Q3. This allowed Apple to overtake Acer and claim the second largest share of the market in Q4 for the first time in New Zealand.”
HP took top spot for Q4 market share in New Zealand with a 40% share, followed by Apple (14%), Acer (11%), Dell (8%) and Toshiba (6%).
Outside the education sector, commercial uptake was sluggish across ANZ, IDC says. However, the hard disk drive (HDD) shortage caused by severe flooding in Thailand had less of an impact than feared as larger vendors in ANZ were given priority in securing HDD supply over other countries as a result of the higher value ANZ market. “Vendors also reacted by reducing promotional activities and focusing on higher value products instead,” IDC says.
“The retail sector was soft in Q4 with minimal promotional activity due to limitations in HDD supply, but the shortage allowed for inventory correction – clearing aged inventories – within the channels,” IDC market analyst Amy Cheah says. “Although Ultrabooks were the talk of the town, uptake has yet to ramp up. Vendors and retailers face a tough challenge in positioning their value proposition and justifing the higher price points.”
Cheah notes that Christmas season spending was ‘sporadic’ with ‘lacklustre’ sales and the seasonal spike expected in Q4 was notably absent as most PC sales were brought forward by massive promotional activities the previous quarter.
IDC is predicting the New Zealand market to grow 2% year-on-year in 2012 – with the Australian market expected to contract 2% for the same period on the back of decelerating education PC roll outs.