Tech giant Lenovo remains top PC supplier amid steepest global market decline since 2013

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 July, 2015, 9:21am
UPDATED : Friday, 10 July, 2015, 5:53pm

Chinese technology giant Lenovo Group held onto its lead as the world’s largest supplier of personal computers in the second quarter of 2015, but suffered its first year-on-year decline since early 2013.

That reflected a significant drop in total industry shipments worldwide last quarter, according to separate preliminary estimates released on Thursday in the United States by research firms IDC and Gartner.

According to IDC, Hong Kong-listed Lenovo recorded total shipments of 13.4 million personal computers in the quarter to June, down 7.5 per cent from 14.5 million units a year ago, for a 20.3 per cent global market share.

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Data from Gartner showed Lenovo, which operates in more than 160 countries, shipped 13.4 million personal computers last quarter, a 6.8 per cent decrease from 14.4 million in the same period last year, for a global share of 19.7 per cent.

Lenovo, which has dual headquarters in Beijing and Morrisville, North Carolina in the US, was unfazed by the market slowdown.

“PCs are still the heart of our business, and we have ample opportunity for continued growth there,” Gianfranco Lanci, the president and chief operating officer at Lenovo, said in a statement to the South China Morning Post on Friday.

“Our strength in PCs fuels the rest of our strategy,” Lanci said. He described that advantage as helping Lenovo build “new growth engines in enterprise, mobility and ecosystem, and transforming ourselves from a company that simply sells devices to one that builds enduring customer relationships through unique products”.

IDC calculated total personal computer shipments worldwide fell 11.8 per cent year on year to 66.1 million units last quarter, a percentage point below its earlier projection.

It said Apple was the sole personal computer supplier to post year-on-year growth in the second quarter, which helped the MacBook maker vault into the global top-five rankings at No 4 behind Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard and Dell.

Apple moved ahead of Acer and Asus, which tied for fifth place, on the back of the 5.1 million personal computers it shipped last quarter, which was up 16.1 per cent year-on-year and good for a 7.8 per cent global market share.

Gartner saw a 9.5 per cent drop in global shipments in the same quarter to 68.4 million units, which it described as the steepest decline for the personal computer industry since the third quarter of 2013.

The top-five ranking by Gartner in the quarter to June had Lenovo, HP, Dell, Asus and Acer all with reduced shipment volumes.

Analysts said the slowdown in personal computer shipments was largely anticipated because the strong desktop sales related to Microsoft’s end of support for its old Windows XP operating system had run its course by the end of last year.

In addition, the scheduled launch of the new Windows 10 software in the third quarter has prompted both personal computer suppliers and their distributors around the world to reduce inventory.

Also contributing to lower industry demand was currency fluctuation, which effectively increased personal computer prices in many markets.

“The price hike of PCs became more apparent in some regions due to a sharp appreciation of the US dollar against local currencies,” Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa said.

In mainland China, however, sales were impacted by excess commercial notebook computer inventory from earlier quarters as Beijing’s anti-corruption campaign continues to suppress commercial spending.

“We continue to expect low to mid-single digit declines in [global personal computer shipment] volume during the second half of the year, with volume stabilising in future years,” said Loren Loverde, IDC’s vice-president for its worldwide PC trackers and forecasting group.