The PC market is weakening as demand for tablets and other mobile devices strengthen. In Australia and New Zealand (ANZ), the PC market closed Q1 with a 21 percent and 27 percent dip respectively compared to the same quarter last year, according to IDC.
This decline is all the more ominous in view of recent cuts to the Australian Federal interest rate and the quarter being the end of financial year in New Zealand.
“The softness in PC sales across the consumer and commercial space reflects a declining demand for PCs,” said Amy Cheah, Market Analyst of IDC Australia. “More consumers are skipping or delaying PC purchase as tablets become the more common alternative for mobile access. Vendors, as a result, took a more cautious approach this quarter, cutting back on shipments given the slow moving inventory situation.”
In Australia, apart from the education segment, which saw major rollouts taking place in New South Wales and Queensland, the other commercial segments remained soft. Large corporate and government tenders have also reduced considerably over the past year and tenders are now fragmented and smaller in volume. Key winners in Q1 were vendors with strong presence in the education space such as Apple, Lenovo and Acer (which recently rolled out notebooks to teachers, a tender it won in Queensland last year).
Across the Tasman, PC sales were noticeably slow in the first two months of the quarter, picking up only in March during the financial year end quarter in New Zealand. Most vendors such as HP, Toshiba and ASUS scaled back on channel promotions following a large sell-in quarter in Q4, and focused instead on managing inventory levels. Apple, on the other hand, gained slight share mainly due to improved supplies of its new iMacs.
IDC forecasts the ANZ PC market to decline 15 percent in 2013 over 2012. “The outlook for the PC market is looking rather gloomy for the rest of 2013,” said Cheah. “Channels are increasingly conservative, limiting product offering as a way to minimise their exposure to the PC market. With the upcoming Intel and AMD processors refresh in June, there will be extra caution to avoid building up on inventory of previous generation PCs, particularly in Australia as local channels close off the end of financial year.”