Rising consumer interest in Apple iPad stings PC sales in Q1

Rising consumer interest in media tablets like Apple Inc.’s revolutionary iPad is beginning to take a toll on the global PC market, with shipments of desktops and notebooks in the first quarter of 2011 declining compared to the same period in 2010, according to new IHS iSuppli research.

Worldwide PC shipments amounted to 81.3 million units in the first quarter of 2011, down 0.3 percent from 81.6 million during the first quarter of 2010. Three out of the world’s top 5 PC makers suffered year-over-year declines in shipments during the quarter. No. 3-ranked PC maker Acer, which sells a high proportion of netbook-type PCs that face a direct competitive threat from media tablets, bore the brunt of the downturn, with its first-quarter shipments plunging by 20.4 percent to 9.2 million units, down from 11.6 million during the same period in 2010.

iSuppli Top 5 Global Q111 PC Shipment Market Share

“The increasing momentum of the media tablet market, led by the iPad, is creating a difficult environment for the PC industry,” said Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst for compute platforms research at IHS. “All the attention surrounding tablets contributed to weak consumer demand for PCs in the first quarter.”

And although corporate PC demand was strong, it wasn’t enough to offset the decline in consumer sales.

“IHS believes that the jury is still out on exactly how much tablets are cannibalizing PC sales,” Wilkins said. “However, the rising number of tablet models on the market, along with certain high-profile product launches during the first quarter, caused confusion among consumers as to exactly how to view the tablet platform relative to the PC platform. This contributed to the PC sales decline in the first quarter.”

The first-quarter decline came as somewhat of a surprise, given that the fourth quarter represented the best period ever for global PC sales as PC shipments hit a new quarterly record, blowing past the previous high of 88.9 million units set in the fourth quarter of 2009. Corporate demand had been driving growth of the market.

Despite the first-quarter weakness, PC sales growth should return later in the year. The current IHS iSuppli forecast predicts the global PC market in 2011 will expand by 8 percent to 373 million units, up from 345 million in 2010. This compares to 14 percent growth in 2010.

Hewlett-Packard Co. continued its reign as the No.1 PC vendor in the first quarter of 2011, with a market share of 18.9 percent. The company suffered a 2.1 percent decline in sales compared to the same time a year ago because of the difficult conditions in the consumer market.

Dell continued to hold on the No. 2 position over third-ranked Acer in the first quarter, with a market share of 12.9 percent.

Rounding out the Top 5 were Lenovo and Toshiba, which coincidentally were the only Top 5 PC original equipment manufacturers (OEM) to achieve growth in their total PC shipments over those from the first quarter of 2010. Fourth-ranked Lenovo and fifth-ranked Toshiba achieved market share positions of 10.0 percent and 5.8 percent, respectively.

Source: IHS iSuppli



    “The increasing momentum of the iPad and wannabes market, owned by the iPad, is creating a difficult environment for the PC industry,” said Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst for compute platforms research at IHS. “All the attention surrounding the iPad contributed to weak consumer demand for PCs in the first quarter.”

  2. hmmm…81 BILLION computer in the quarter? I bet the caption should read “thousands” and not “millions”. This sounds like Congressional Mathematics.

  3. Wall Street seems to think this small decline in PCs doesn’t have much effect on the PC industry at large and that it is only a temporary glitch due to the economy. WS is betting that Apple won’t benefit from this short-term trend for a long-term outlook. Apple’s growth is considered extremely limited at best due to the closed nature of the company. I don’t see anyone on WS looking at Apple and saying “This company will be strong for X number of years.”

    It’s usually a quarter to quarter survival outlook for Apple so they really haven’t made much of a mark of impressing anyone with the iPad. I’m fairly certain Wall Street will be very disappointed with iPad sales at the end of this quarter so likely these indicated PC declines due to the iPad will be ruled as bogus. I’d say they’re more likely to believe that iPad sales will be surpassed by Android tablets and WebOS by next year.

    Apple just can’t convince anyone of it having long-term growth for any of its products which does seem rather odd.

  4. What is this “media tablet” market of which they speak? Sure seems a bizarre way to characterize the iPad and its imitators. Who invented this term and what logic did they use to justify it?

  5. Wow, what a crap market the PC is. Only 81.3 million units sold in the first quarter of 2011. About 300,000 less than last year. It’s done for!!!

  6. The iPad (aka “media tablet”) market is “led” (dominated) by iPad. What a surprise…

    If there was no iPad, there would not be a new market segment that is “stinging” PC sales.

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