Lenovo has definitively overtaken Hewlett-Packard as the global leader in PC sales.
Quarter after quarter, the Chinese PC maker has continued to press forward in a hurting industry—last quarter, it was the only top-five PC maker with a growth figure in the black—as the longtime industry giant has continued to lose its hold.
During the third quarter of 2012, Gartner found Lenovo to have pulled ahead by a fraction of a percent; IDC figures found HP, by just as slim a margin, to have held on. During the 2013 second quarter, however, both agreed that Lenovo had become the market ruler.
Lenovo shipped 12.6 million units to HP's 12.4 million, according to IDC; Gartner put the figures at 12.7 million and 12.4 million, respectively.
"The PC market is changing, but it still represents a $200 billion opportunity," Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing said in a statement.
"Lenovo can capture more of this opportunity ... because we have built a great balance over the last four years. In our traditional strongholds—China and global commercial PCs—we have continued to gain share and build sustainable profit engines," Yangquin continued. "Balancing growth and profitability across our entire PC business is our focus going forward."
Pressured by competing devices like tablets, the overall PC market fell by approximately 11 percent during the quarter, both research firms agreed, on shipments of 76 million units.
"In emerging markets, inexpensive tablets have become the first computing device for many people, who at best are deferring the purchase of a PC," said Gartner Principal Analyst Mikako Kitagawa in a July 10 statement. "This is also accounting for the collapse of the mini notebook market."
A silver lining amid all the decline, IDC said in a statement, is that "a number of vendors and regions seemed to be focused on inventory reduction during the quarter, which could reflect planned launches of new models as well as lower inventory going into the second half of the year."
IDC Senior Analyst Jay Chou added that while efforts are being made by the PC ecosystem to make PCs more attractive and to lower pricing "a lot still needs to be done in launching attractive products and addressing competition from devices like tablets."
Ironically, during the quarter that it finally overtook HP, even Lenovo saw declines of 1.4 percent, by IDC's tally and 0.6 percent by Gartner's.
Dell finished in third place worldwide, with shipments of 9 million units—followed by a deeply hurting Acer, which shipped 6.3 million units, a 35 percent year-over-year decline. Asus took fifth place, shipping 5 million units and falling by 21 percent year-on-year.
In the United States, HP still led, with shipments of 4 million units, and was followed by Dell, with 3.7 million; Apple, with 1.7 million; Lenovo, with 1.5 million; and Toshiba, with 850,000. Only Dell and Lenovo posted positive growth (6 and 20 percent, respectively, in a market that on average fell 1.4 percent annually—an improvement over last quarter's fall of nearly 10 percent.
Gartner's Kitagawa contributed this to the professional market.
"Three of the major professional PC suppliers, HP, Dell and Lenovo, all registered better than U.S. average growth rate," said Kitagawa. "The end of Windows XP support potentially drove the remaining PC refresh in the U.S. professional market."
Lenovo's Yuanqing added that the company was hardly resting on its new laurels.
"PC leadership is just one milestone in a longer journey to become a true leader in the 'PC Plus' market, which includes tablets, smartphones, smart TVs and other 'smart connected' devices," he said.
By continuing to follow Lenovo's formula for success—"a clear strategy, innovative products, great execution and a diverse global team"—Yuanqing said he was confident Lenovo can keep driving profitable growth and "achieve the same success, over time, in the fast-growing PC-Plus marketplace."