PC shipment up 5% but tablet growth slows in Q1

Worldwide client PC shipment rose five percent year on year to hit 123.7 million units in Q1 , according to Canalys. Growth in tablet shipments slowed to 21 percent, yet at 50.8 million units they continue to outship notebooks. Tablets accounted for 41 percent of the market while notebooks had 38 percent.

Notebooks and desktops in China declined 13 percent and six percent respectively compared with the previous year.

In the tablet market, there was strong growth in the Middle East (100 percent) and Greater China (74 percent). The US market was adversely affected by a drop in Apple iPad shipment, which fell 40 percent. This was offset somewhat by 20 percent growth in China, Apple’s second largest market. Worldwide, iPad shipments in Q1 fell 16 percent year on year to 16.4 million and accounted for 80 percent of Apple’s total PC shipments. Despite this, Apple continued to lead the global PC market. Its share fell both sequentially and year on year from 20 to 17 percent, due chiefly to the increasingly competitive tablet market.

“The fall in iPad shipment in Q1 was the sharpest ever,” said Tim Coulling, Senior Analyst of Canalys. “Apple took action during the quarter to run down its iPad inventory, a smart move as tablet stock in the channel rose due to strong seasonal shipments in the previous quarter. Longer term, we do not believe Apple’s Q1 performance points to a decline in the tablet category, despite growing pressure from larger-screen smart phones. Consumers, and increasingly businesses, are continuing to adapt, with tablets acting as disruptors and finding their place as desktop and notebook replacements. Apple’s ecosystem and the recent launch of Office for iPad should ensure it is well placed to remain a leader for some time.”

Lenovo did well in the quarter, increasing its PC market share from 10 to 12 percent with 15.0 million units shipped. It achieved solid annual growth in all PC categories and is now placed first, second and third in the notebook, desktop and tablet markets respectively. After four quarters of decline, its shipment in China are stabilising.

“Lenovo was quick to move with new form factors and its Yoga line now dominates the global convertible notebook market,” said James Wang, Analyst of Canalys. “In addition, it has diversified its tablet portfolio and has product SKUs in all key market segments. Unlike Apple, with its ‘one size fits all’ tablet strategy, Lenovo and others are free to tailor tablets to specific market segments. The tablet form factor is well liked by both young and old consumers; product customization can be beneficial in both cases.”

Samsung’s PC shipments suffered and it fell to fourth place. Its exit from the mainstream notebook market and a significant sequential decline in shipments due to mounting inventory both played a part. As a result, HP regained third place. Shipment of 12.9 million units gave it an 11 percent share of the PC market. It capitalised on the recovery in commercial demand and increased shipments in all product categories during the quarter. After considerable work on its industrial design across its portfolio, notebook shipments grew seven percent year on year – the second quarter of growth since Q1 2012.

“With fewer than 400,000 tablets shipped in the quarter, HP still has much work to do,” said Chris Jones, VP and Principal Analyst of Canalys. “But it is now delivering on a tablet strategy that emphasises strong differentiation based on connectivity. HP’s tablets now come with bundled mobile data in a growing number of markets. While other vendors have flirted with this idea, HP’s proposition adds significant value to end users, and will appeal not just to individuals but SMBs as well. The vendor has set itself apart from the low-cost tablet battlefield where many are struggling to compete.”

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