PC market doing better than expected

Despite a year on year decline of 7.6%, the worldwide PC market didn’t do as badly as it was expected to do in Q3 2013.

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 81.6 million units in the third quarter of 2013 (3Q13), according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker.

In year-on-year terms, the market contracted -7.6%, ahead of a projected decline of -9.5% for the quarter, the IDC said.

While shipments remained weak during the early part of the quarter, the market was somewhat buoyed by business purchases, as well as channel intake of Windows 8.1-based systems during September, the research firm said.

A slight uptick in business volume contributed to shipments. The top three vendors (Lenovo, HP, and Dell), which all have an important presence in the enterprise and public sectors, each saw modest positive year-on-year growth during the quarter.

Conversely, consumer sentiment remained lukewarm at best, as evidenced by the continued struggles of Acer and ASUS.

Despite some encouraging developments in the business space, emerging markets continued to exhibit troubling signs.

“The third quarter was pretty close to forecast, which unfortunately doesn’t reflect much improvement in the PC market, or potential for near-term growth,” said Loren Loverde, VP Worldwide PC Trackers.

“Whether constrained by a weak economy or being selective in their tech investments, buyers continue to evaluate options and delay PC replacements. Despite being a little ahead of forecast, and the work that’s being done on new designs and integration of features like touch, the third quarter results suggest that there’s still a high probability that we will see another decline in worldwide shipments in 2014.”

“The United States outperformed many other regions as growth stabilized just under 0%. Continuing upgrades from Windows XP boosted shipments, particularly in the commercial desktop segment, while retail acceptance of new and emerging product categories, such as Chromebooks and Ultraslims, helped the portables segment,” said Rajani Singh, Senior Research Analyst, Personal Computers.

“Nevertheless, the broad picture of the US market has not changed much, with hopes for a small increase in the fourth quarter followed by a challenging 2014.”

The PC market in Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) contracted in the third quarter in line with IDC forecasts. PC shipments remained constrained particularly in the home segment, which continued to suffer from weak consumer demand amid an ongoing budget shift to tablets.

From a supply perspective, the quarter was also affected by an unfavorable year-on-year comparison with 3Q12, when shipments were supported by preparation to Windows 8 launch. Lean inventory remained a priority for channel partners across EMEA during 3Q13, inhibiting further sell-in.

Portable PC shipments suffered a particularly strong decline, while desktops were less constrained. As forecast, the commercial market was less negative than the consumer market due to pockets of investments remaining available despite constrained spending. Shipments were also supported by seasonal back-to-school projects.

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PC market doing better than expected