Tablets cannibalize 4Q PC shipments

Businesses fuelled modest growth in PC shipments in 4Q10, however consumer interest in tablet PCs is already hitting sales of traditional desktops and laptops.
Preliminary estimates from Gartner show that total PC shipments grew 3.1% to 93.5 million during the quarter, well below the firm’s original forecast of 4.8% growth.
The research firm notes that sales in key regions were weak during the holiday selling period, as devices including tablets and games consoles competed for the consumer buck.
“The bright side of the PC market during the fourth quarter of 2010 was a steady growth in the professional market driven by replacement purchases,” principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa said.
Results for the full year show that overall shipments recovered from a recession-hit 2009 to register double-digit growth, but Kitagawa cautions of trouble ahead “with more intensified competition among consumer spending.”
HP maintained its dominant position, with shipments of 17.5 million units enough to secure an 18.8% share of the market. Acer was second on shipments of 11.8 million units followed by Dell (10.8 million), Lenovo (9.4 million) and Toshiba (5.3 million).
However Acer’s reliance on consumer mobile PC shipments caused problems during the quarter, with shipments down almost 2% on 4Q09. HP’s shipments were down 1.2% year-on-year, while the remaining vendors all registered growth.
EMEA accounted for 32 million of the total shipments during the quarter – up 6.2% on 4Q09, but Gartner notes that shipments in Western Europe remained weak as tablets and e-readers grabbed consumer’s attention.