Lenovo extends PC penetration as rivals dither

It's all change in the PC makers' top ten, after contender Acer took its eye off the ball, HP confused everyone - including itself - with its plan to 'possibly' spin off its PC business.

Despite its dithering, Hewlett Packard notched up a decent third quarter of PC flogging, according to market-watchers at both IDC and Gartner. The outfit which makes almost as many former CEOs as it does computers managed to boost its sales of tin boxes by more than five per cent in the period, hanging on to its perch at the top of the PC tree in terms of value of PCs shifted.

Fellow US outfit Dell lost its second spot in the rankings to Lenovo, which has the advantage of of having the fastest-growing market for old-fangled PCs on its doorstep. Both Gartner and IDC agreed that Lenovo notched up the fastest growth of the op five PC makers. Gartner estimates Lenovo's market share to be around 13.5 per cent, as Dell slipped to 11.6 per cent.

The juggling comes as growth in the world-wide market for PCs slows. IDC's soothsayers had projected 4.5 per cent growth for the quarter but with hindsight reckons the market grew by just 3.6 per cent year-on-year. According to Gartner the market grew by an even more measly 3.2 percent year-on-year.

"The PC industry has been performing below normal seasonality," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner in a statement. "As expected, back-to-school PC sales were disappointing in mature markets, confirming that the consumer PC market continues to be weak. The popularity of non-PC devices, including media tablets, such as the iPad and smartphones, took consumers' spending away from PCs.

"As the PC market faced a slowdown, vendor consolidation has become a more apparent trend in the industry. Lenovo's recent merger with NEC, and its acquisition of Medion, as well as HP's announcement that it may spin off or sell its PC business, underlined this trend during the quarter," he added.

Note: Data includes desk-based PCs, mobile PCs, including mini-notebooks but not media tablets such as the iPad. Final estimates will be subject to change. Lenovo shipments include NEC shipments, but not Medion's shipments. Source: Gartner (October 2011)