PC Sales Flat as Market Waits for Windows 8

A new generation of Ultrabooks powered by a new family of Intel processors wasn’t enough to jumpstart PC sales in the second quarter of 2012. According to reports by both Gartner and IDC, PC sales were essentially flat in the quarter as consumers wait for Windows 8 to ship.

Using figures averaged from the two firms, PC makers shipped 87.1 million PCs in the quarter, roughly the same as last year’s haul of 87.2 million units. And sales were flat or down across the board: Even industry-darling Apple saw a slight decline in Mac sales growth year over year, and lost market share, according to IDC.

The top five PC makers in the world were HP (15.2 percent of the market, 13.2 million in sales), Lenovo (14.8 percent, 12.9 million), Dell (10.9 percent, 9.5 million), Acer (10.7 percent, 9.3 million), and ASUS (7.1 percent, 6.1 million). It was a topsy-turvy quarter, with HP and Dell experiencing declining sales year over year, while sales of Lenovo and ASUS devices skyrocketed, by 20 and 39.2 percent, respectively.

In the United States, HP, Dell, Apple, Acer, and Lenovo were the top five PC makers, with HP and Dell posting big year-over-year declines. Only Lenovo showed strong year-over-year sales growth in the United States.

Looking ahead, both IDC and Gartner believe that a full transition to Intel’s new “Ivy Bridge” generation of processors and chipsets—plus a new wave of innovative device types backed by Windows 8—will help rejuvenate the market in the second half of the year.

“The announcement of a Windows 8 launch date, as well as broader communication of new features in the OS, are key steps that would help to address uncertainty about new product availability and help consumers and channels plan their purchases,” IDC’s Jay Chou noted. Microsoft recently said that it would finalize Windows 8 in early August and deliver it publicly by the end of October.

“Though Ultrabook was at first introduced in the market in 2011, the major promotion kicked off toward the end of [2Q 2012] with the Ivy Bridge-based Ultrabook release,” Gartner’s Mikako Kitagawa said. “This segment is still in an early adopter’s stage.” Ultrabooks aimed at Windows 8 will often feature touch screens and other features, such as convertible tablet designs, that could further differentiate them from today’s products.

TAGS: Windows 8
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