Apple, Lenovo Tablet Sales Help Offset Desktop, Notebook Declines

Declines in worldwide shipments of notebooks and desktops, offset by a 45 percent rise in tablet sales in Q2, resulted in a flat quarter for the PC market.

Despite a nearly 43 percent surge in tablet sales in the second quarter of 2013, the worldwide PC market experienced zero quarter-to-quarter growth overall, thanks to declines in shipments of desktop and notebook computers, which fell 7.4 percent and 13.9 percent.

Apple remained the top PC vendor in Q2, with a 4.5 million-unit lead over second-place Lenovo. However, Apple’s share fell more than two percentage points to 17.1 percent from 19.4 percent in Q2 last year due an annual decrease in iPad shipments. The report noted desktop and notebook shipments only accounted for around one-fifth of its total PC shipments.

Lenovo’s burgeoning tablet business—the company shipped 1.5 million of the devices in the second quarter—helped it land a second-place finish. The company grew out its core desktop and notebook business and saw strong sales growth in the United States, the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, and Latin America, where annual sales were up 93 percent.

"It is striking how successful it has been in globalizing its PC business and breaking the 1 million unit barrier is an important milestone for its tablet shipments," Canalys analyst James Wang said in a statement. "Lenovo is on an upward curve with its tablets, expanding in mainland China and Latin America, where there is little competition from the likes of Google or Amazon."

With Hewlett-Packard (HP) recently changing its tablet strategy and launching the Slate 7, a tablet powered by Google’s popular Android operating system, the company displaced Samsung for the third-place slot. However, Samsung’s annual growth, at 106.2 percent, was far and away the highest of the top five vendors.

"HP has a broad enterprise portfolio, channel relationships and global reach that others still cannot match," Canalys research analyst Pin-Chen Tang said in a statement. "To increase its market share it should look to leverage its strengths in the enterprise to advance Android in business."

While vendors such as HP, Lenovo, Toshiba and Acer have built PCs using a variety of new form factors, computers running Microsoft’s Windows operating system—particularly tablets--have struggled to find customers as Android-based devices become even more competitive on a cost basis. Android’s share of the total PC market increased to 17 percent in Q2 2013 from 6 percent a year ago. However, the report pointed out Android remains weak when it comes to management and security, which it must address if it aims to entice enterprise customers.

"Component pricing has been an issue, particularly with multi-touch screens, though scale economies make this less of an issue as demand increases. The price of Windows itself is a contributing factor and one that Microsoft must address as a matter of urgency," Tim Coulling, Canalys senior analyst, said in a statement. "Its PC OEM partners are in an increasingly difficult position and consolidation in the PC market is inevitable within the next 12 months."

On a regional basis, Western Europe and Central and Eastern Europe continue to be challenging for vendors, with annual declines of 10 percent and 3 percent. PC shipments in the Asia Pacific region declined 0.5 percent year-on-year to just over 40 million units. The report said the region was badly affected by slow shipments in China, which accounted for almost 45 percent of the region’s shipments and declined by approximately 6 percent.