Tablets fail to lift flat PC market in Q2

Tablet shipment’s growth 42.9 percent iwas not enough to lift a sluggish PC market in Q2. Desktop and notebook shipments fell 7.4 percent and 13.9 percent respectively, according to Canalys, which believes that tablets will outsell notebooks by Q4.

PC shipment in the Asia Pacific region declined 0.5 percent year-on-year to just over 40 million units. The region was badly affected by slow shipment in China, which accounted for almost 45 percent of the region’s shipment and declined by about six percent.

Demand for smartphones and tablets is increasing around the world. Faced by an industry in transition, channel partners are exercising caution when planning and placing orders.

Apple remained the top PC vendor in Q2, with a 4.5 million unit lead over second-placed Lenovo. But Apple’s share fell more than two percentage points to 17.1 percent from 19.4 percent in Q2 last year due an annual decrease in iPad shipment. Desktop and notebook shipments only accounted for around 20 percent of total PC shipment.

Lenovo had a strong quarter, gaining share in its core notebook and desktop categories, as well as tablets. “It is striking how successful it has been in globalising its PC business and breaking the one million unit barrier is an important milestone for its tablet shipment,” noted James Wang, Analyst of Canalys. “Lenovo is on an upward curve with its tablets, expanding in mainland China and Latin America, where there is little competition from the likes of Google or Amazon.”

HP has overtaken Samsung to regain third place. It has recently changed its tablet strategy and launched its first Android tablet in Q2, the Slate 7. “HP has a broad enterprise portfolio, channel relationships and global reach that others still cannot match,” said Pin-Chen Tang, Research Analyst of Canalys. “To increase its market share, it should look to leverage its strengths in the enterprise to advance Android in business.”

iOS and Android have profitted from the shift to tablets, as they have proved to be the only type of PC with any momentum. Android’s share of the total PC market increased to 17 percent in Q2 from six percent a year ago.

With the likes of HP, Lenovo and Samsung looking to use Android to compete with iOS in the tablet space, the platform is well placed to continue increasing its share. Google is targeting the consumer market and has its sights set on beating Apple in the smart phone and tablet space. Android remains weak in management and security, which is preventing commercial uptake. Google, or its partners, must address this shortfall quickly if it is to penetrate the enterprise

There has been rapid innovation in the Windows category, as vendors such as HP, Lenovo, Toshiba and Acer have built PCs using a variety of new form factors. These products are struggling to take off as the difference in price between Android and Windows-based tablets remains high.

“Component pricing has been an issue, particularly with multi-touch screens, though scale economies make this less of an issue as demand increases. The price of Windows itself is a contributing factor and one that Microsoft must address as a matter of urgency. Its PC OEM partners are in an increasingly difficult position and consolidation in the PC market is inevitable within the next 12 months,” said Tim Coulling, Senior Analyst of Canalys.

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