By Alexandra Burlacu | Oct 11, 2012 09:57 AM EDT
Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Lenovo continued to fight for the top spot in PC shipments for the third quarter, and their shipment totals are so similar that two major research firms disagree about who ranks first.
On Wednesday, Oct. 10, research firm Gartner Inc. said Lenovo has emerged for the first time as the market leader in PC shipments in the third quarter. Meanwhile, International Data Corp. (IDC) reported that HP still has a slight lead over Lenovo.
Both Gartner and IDC said the difference in the PC makers' market share during the quarter was within two-tenths of a percentage point, with each holding nearly 16 percent of the market by units.
Head to Head
According to Gartner, Lenovo shipped 13.8 million units in the third quarter, while HP shipped 13.55 million. The research firm said Lenovo's substantial market share was largely due to the company's "aggressive" price cuts, which boosted sales. Gartner also found that Lenovo was the only company among the world's top five PC makers to increase its shipments to the U.S. during the third quarter.
IDC's data, however, ranks HP as the world's top PC maker. IDC found that HP shipped 13.9 million units, seizing a 15.9 percent share of the global market, while Lenovo grabbed a 15.7 percent share with 13.8 million units.
The difference in IDC's and Gartner's results stems from the fact that each research firm calculates its data in a different manner. While IDC is only revealing unit shipments in rounded-off figures, Gartner displays estimates down to the last digit.
Analysts agree that Lenovo has been among the best performing PC makers recently and will likely gain more market share.
"Just the momentum that Lenovo has had, makes it inevitable that it will be the world's number one PC maker across all charts," Frost & Sullivan analyst Andrew Milroy told the BBC.
Global PC Shipments Decline
On the other hand, both Garner and IDC's data showed that global PC shipments declined more than eight percent during the quarter, compared to the same period last year. A sluggish global economy, coupled with the growing popularity of tablet PCs such as Apple's iPad and Samsung's Android-based Galaxy range, have significantly affected demand for personal computers.
Another theory is that consumers put off purchases during the quarter in anticipation of new product and operating system launches, including Microsoft's Windows 8 OS, due out on Oct. 26.
"PCs are going through a severe slump," noted Jay Chou, senior research analyst at IDC's Worldwide PC Tracker. "The industry has already weathered a rough second quarter, and now the third quarter was even worse."
The 'It' Product
Chou further pointed out that the PC industry is also struggling to find the one product that may help turn things around.
"The hard question of what is the 'it' product for PCs remains unanswered," said the analyst. "While ultrabook prices have come down a little, there are still some significant challenges that will greet Windows 8 in the coming quarter."
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