Worldwide PC Shipments Slip in 2011

Weak demand for consumer PCs was the biggest inhibitor of growth for worldwide PC shipments that showed a 1.1 per cent decline from the first quarter of 2010, according to preliminary results from Gartner's PC Quarterly Statistics Worldwide by Region program.

Despite the global weakening of sales, the Asia Pacific region showed encouraging growth as PC shipments surpassed 28.2 million units in the first quarter of 2011.

Sales typically do not take off in the beginning of the year and the first quarter is traditionally a slow one for PC sales.

However, Gartner notes that these shipment results indicate potential sluggishness, not just a normal seasonal slowdown. The research firm points out that these figures are below its earlier forecast for 3 per cent growth in the first quarter of 2011.

Asian Scenario

Commenting on different markets in Asia, Gartner says PC sales to consumers were slow in both China and Taiwan and failed to attract customers even during the Chinese New Year holiday.

Indian consumers were focusing on the Cricket World Cup and preferred to upgrade or purchase new TVs or other home electronics in this quarter. Also, PC shipments in Japan declined 13.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2011.

"Weak demand for consumer PCs was the biggest inhibitor of growth," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "Low prices for consumer PCs, which had long stimulated growth, no longer attracted buyers. Instead, consumers turned their attention to media tablets and other consumer electronics. With the launch of the iPad 2 in February, more consumers either switched to buying an alternative device, or simply held back from buying PCs. We're investigating whether this trend is likely to have a long-term effect on the PC market."

Hewlett-Packard accounted for 17.6 per cent of worldwide PC shipments in the first quarter of 2011 and maintained its No. 1 position. Acer shipments declined 12.2 per cent and Dell reported a shipment decline year-over-year for the first time in six quarters in the first quarter of 2011.

Lenovo continued to price its products very competitively in both the consumer and professional sectors and, as a result, enjoyed the strongest growth among the top five vendors.

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