Worldwide PC shipments totaled 75.6 million units in the second quarter of 2013 (2Q13) -- that's down -11.4% compared to the same quarter in 2012, according to the latest market study by International Data Corporation (IDC).
Total global shipments were effectively right on forecast, although Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) and Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan)(APeJ) were a few points below expectations with the difference made up in the United States.
The recent performance reflect a market that is still struggling with the transition to touch-based systems running the Windows 8 OS -- as well as justifying Ultrabook very high prices in the face of economic pressures and competition from low-price media tablets.
PC vendors seemed to be focused on inventory reduction during the second quarter, which could reflect planned launches of new models -- as well as plans to reduce any remaining unsold inventory going into the second half of the year.
However, it also suggests some caution among vendors and the channels in the face of ongoing challenges for PCs and more than a year of continuously declining shipments.
"With second quarter negative growth so close to forecast, we are
still looking for some improvement during the second half of the year,"
said Jay Chou, senior analyst at IDC.
growth in Europe and China reflect the risks, while the improved U.S.
market outlook reflects potential improvement. Still, the weakness in
emerging markets is a threat to a core long-term growth area.
In addition, while efforts by the PC ecosystem to bring down price points and embrace touch computing should help to make PCs more attractive, a lot still needs to be done in launching attractive products and addressing competition from more better value media tablets.
One positive sign is that HP and Dell saw growth improve over recent quarters, possibly indicating stronger performance in coming quarters and reflecting more commercial replacements as we get closer to the end of Windows XP support.
Lenovo also grew faster than the market (and faster than HP and Dell), although their growth slipped below zero at -1.4% and was down from prior quarters. Slow growth for Lenovo reflects the company's focus on China, which represents over 50 percent of their shipments, and where short-term economic and inventory hurdles cut into 2Q13 shipments.
IDC says that they are also starting to see more stabilization in shipments, which may be a reflection of PC lifetimes finally starting to even out after a long period of gradual increase. The end result should be more PC replacements -- even if consumers and companies are selective in making replacements and wait until PCs are much older before replacing them.