Worldwide shipment of personal computers (PCs) grew at a meagre single digit in the first quarter of the year to total 89 million units. Still, the 1.9 percent year-over-year growth was above Gartner's expectations of 1.2 percent, said the market research firm.
Gartner said it was expecting poor results because the first quarter is typically not a PC-buying season. Still, it noted the "worse-than-normal consumer PC shipment growth" was due to tight consumer budget.
It further warned vendors not to rely too much on the emerging economies, such as those in the Asia Pacific region, to boost overall growth. This as Gartner noted a slowdown in the region, mainly because of the slow growth in the two biggest economies in the region - India and China.
The Europe-Middle East-Africa (EMEA) region performed better, at 6.7 percent in the first quarter of 2012.
"While the PC industry has high expectations for strong growth in the emerging markets, the slowdown of these countries in this quarter provides a cautionary notice to vendors that the future growth for the PC industry cannot heavily depend on the emerging markets even though PC penetration in these regions is low," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst, Gartner.
Gartner also advised vendors to diversify their product line to capture a share of the consumers' tight budgets. It cited the case of Apple, which has a comprehensive product offering.
Preliminary worldwide PC shipment estimates show that HP is the market leader with shipments of 15 million for a market share of 17.2 percent in the first quarter of 2012. This is a 3.5 percent increase from the same period last year, according to Gartner data.
Lenovo and Dell were the next two top PC vendors worldwide during the period in review. Lenovo shipped 11 million units to gain a market share of 13.1 percent while Dell shipped almost 10 million units to capture a market share of 11 percent.
Gartner classifies PC to include desk-based PCs and mobile PCs, including mini-notebooks but not media tablets such as the Apple iPad.
In terms of growth rates year-over-year, Lenovo's was highest at 28.1 percent while Dell suffered a decline in growth rate to 1.6 percent. HP's year-over-year growth rate for the first quarter was 3.5 percent.
Gartner explained that Lenovo gained its strength from the EMEA market, with over 50 percent year-over-year growth. Lenovo is also a favourite in the professional market while it continues to expand into the consumer market.
In the US, where Apple was among the favourite vendors, PC shipments fell to 15.5 million units, or 3.5 percent from the same period last year. This is even better as Gartner had expected a 6.1 percent decline.
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