Lenovo holds steady as global PC market plummets

Mainland tech giant maintains global market share in the first quarter while other leaders see theirs shrink amid 14 per cent fall in shipments

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 12 April, 2013, 6:57am

Lenovo, bolstered by its strong growth in North America, emerged unscathed after global personal computer shipments in the first quarter fell 14 per cent, marking the industry's worst quarterly decline.

The Chinese technology giant's worldwide shipments were flat in the three months to March, compared with a year earlier.

The company, however, was the only one among the industry's biggest players that did not record a double-digit decrease in shipments in the period.

In separate preliminary data released yesterday, technology research firms IDC and Gartner estimated that Lenovo shipped 11.7 million personal computers and seized a 15 per cent market share during the quarter to nearly close the gap with global leader Hewlett-Packard.

Both IDC and Gartner also found that Lenovo's first-quarter shipments to the United States grew 13 per cent year on year to 1.3 million units.

Lenovo remained the No 5 supplier in the US, the world's second-largest market for personal computers after China.

Gartner pointed out that Lenovo's performance was affected by the slowdown in the Asia-Pacific, in which personal computer shipments dropped 10.3 per cent year on year to 27.6 million units.

IDC added that public sector spending in China, Lenovo's home market, "continued to be constrained".

A spokeswoman for Lenovo yesterday said the company "continues to outperform its traditional PC competition".

She added that "there is still plenty of room to take share in this market".

This industry, however, is being challenged by increased consumer spending on media tablets and smartphones, despite some improvement in the global economy and release of personal computers that run Microsoft's new Windows 8 operating system. Products with the touch screen-ready Windows 8 system were released from October last year.

IDC said the extent of the year-on-year contraction in the past quarter marked the worst period since the research company began tracking the personal computer market quarterly in 1994.

It estimated worldwide shipments reached 76.3 million units during the quarter, while Gartner calculated 79.2 million.

"At this point, unfortunately, it seems clear that the Windows 8 launch not only failed to provide a positive boost to the PC market, but appears to have slowed the market," said Bob O'Donnell, a vice-president at IDC.

Lenovo, which supplies personal computers in more than 160 countries, saw its share price fall 5.84 per cent yesterday to finish at HK$7.09, its lowest close since hitting HK$7.02 on December 31.