PCs See Little Back-to-School Boost, But Corporate Sales Help - Page 2

Executives with Intel and other tech vendors are expecting that a range of new form factors—particularly convertible systems that can be used as both a traditional notebook and a tablet—and features such as touch capabilities will make PCs more attractive to consumers and business users alike.

PC makers also are hoping that Microsoft ending support for Windows XP in April 2014 will boost corporate PC sales as businesses migrate to Windows 7 or 8. Not all analysts are confident that the XP migration will help the PC market all that much. In a research note Oct. 7, Chris Whitmore, an analyst with of Deutsche Bank Equity Research, said the “corporate upgrade cycle will peak in [the second half of 2013] as corporate complete [Windows 7] transitions” ahead of the XP deadline, and that the expected launch of a 64-bit iPad 5 Oct. 22 will further hamper corporate PC sales. He expects PC sales in 2013 to decline as much as 10 percent and 8 percent next year.

Lenovo, HP and Dell continued to rank one through three in the Gartner and IDC lists of the top PC vendors as the market heads into the crucial holiday season. Lenovo had a narrow 17.6-to-17.1 percent market share lead over HP, according to Gartner, while IDC had it even closer, with Lenovo having 17.3 percent share to HP’s 17.1 percent.

Analysts with both firms also noted that shipment declines in the United States slowed a little, a trend that should continue.

“The 3Q13 results imply the U.S. market may have passed the worst declining stage, which started in 2010,” Gartner’s Kitagawa said. “The shrinking installed base of PCs has also passed the steepest decline phase because the structural change has progressed fairly quickly. Tablets will continue to impact the PC market, but the U.S. PC market will see a more moderate decrease rather than a steep decline in the next two years."