Updated Apr. 12, 2017 at 7:23 a.m.

Falling US sales help tumble Lenovo from No. 1 PC sales ranking

Published: 2017-04-12 07:18:00
Updated: 2017-04-12 07:23:18


Lenovo has lost its four-year-hold on the world's top PC seller mantle, according to a new report. And a significant slowdown in U.S. sales, which have been a bright spot for the tech giant, is a major reason.

Research firm IDC says HP surpassed Lenovo as the world's leading computer seller in the first quarter, snapping Lenovo's hold on the ranking which it seized in the first quarter of 2013.

The news came on the same day that Laptop Magazine rated Lenovo's laptops as the world's best.

A rival report from Gartner still has Lenovo in the top spot, but by under half a percentage point, or some 260,000 machines shipped between the 24.5 million totalled by the two in the first three months of the year.

HP's threat is not new, however, Since HP split into two companies - one focused on hardware, another focused on services, HP has rallied in the PC business over several quarters.

"The vendor has focused on building out a deep portfolio and saw a strong quarter in notebooks across all regions," IDC notes.

HP takes No. 1 spot from Lenovo Not that all the news was bad for Lenovo. It actually increased sales AND market share.

In fact, the top three sellers (HP, Lenovo and Dell) were credited with year-over-year increases, enough to drive industry sales up 0.6 percent - the first such increase for the industry in five years, notes IDC, which had actually expected further declines.

"The previous forecast had expected shipments to decline 1.8% in the quarter," IDC reported.

"And, while the 0.6% growth was arguably flat, the result nonetheless represented the first foray back into positive territory since Q1 2012, when many users still considered PCs their first computing device."

HP's sales climbed 6.5 percent year-over-year to 12.118 million, according to Gartner, with Lenovo shipping 12.118 million, an increase of 1.2 percent.

IDC cited slightly higher figure for HP at 13.143 million, up 13 percent from last year. Lenovo also drove sales up to 12.322 million, a 1.7 percent increase.

Lenovo's market share improved to 20.4 percent from 20.2 percent, according to IDC.

Gartner says Lenovo's share climbed to 19.9 percent from 19.2 percent.

US sales slip

Hurting Lenovo was a reversal of a strong sales trend in the U.S. where moves into consumer markets through partnerships with such companies as Best Buy and promotional deals with professional sports had raised Lenovo's brand.

However, IDC says Lenovo sales dropped more than 4 percent - the first quarterly decline since 2008.

Gartner, meanwhile, noted that Lenovo sales fell 3.6 percent to 1.72 million. Lenovo's market share also slipped to 14 percent from 14.2 percent.

A slowing overall U.S. market certainly didn't help Lenovo.

"The U.S. PC market had a weak opening quarter for the year with the consumer PC segment failing to impress after doing fairly well in the previous quarter," explained Neha Mahajan, an IDC senior research analyst for Devices & Displays. "Apart from factors such as relatively improved commercial PC performance as well as a few component shortages, which continued to add to a better inventory situation, the overall PC performance for the quarter remained fairly sublime."

Better days for industry?

Does the quarterly performance by the industry as a whole indicate better days are head? Perhaps.

"The traditional PC market has been through a tough phase, with competition from tablets and smartphones as well as lengthening lifecycles pushing PC shipments down roughly 30% from a peak in 2011," reported Jay Chou, the research manager for the IDC PCD Tracker report.

"Nevertheless, users have generally delayed PC replacements rather than giving up PCs for other devices. The commercial market is beginning a replacement cycle that should drive growth throughout the forecast. Consumer demand will remain under pressure, although growth in segments like PC Gaming as well as rising saturation of tablets and smartphones will move the consumer market toward stabilization as well."

"The U.S. PC market had a weak opening quarter for the year with the consumer PC segment failing to impress after doing fairly well in the previous quarter," said Neha Mahajan, senior research analyst, Devices & Displays. "Apart from factors such as relatively improved commercial PC performance as well as a few component shortages, which continued to add to a better inventory situation, the overall PC performance for the quarter remained fairly sublime."

Gartner, meanwhile, expects the top three to remain involved in a tight fight.

"The top three vendors — Lenovo, HP and Dell — will battle for the large-enterprise segment," Gartner noted.

"The market has extremely limited opportunities for vendors below the top three, with the exception of Apple, which has a solid customer base in specific verticals."

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