HP Regains Top PC Spot, But at What Cost?

Editor’s note:As part of our special editorial partnership, Channelnomics is publishing this recent article from CRN in the UK.

Hewlett-Packard Co. has regained the global PC crown from Lenovo but may have taken a margin hit in the process, says Gartner Inc.

According to the market watcher – but controversially not rival IDC – Lenovo ousted HP as top dog in Q3 2012 in a development that underlined just how rapidly the market has shifted in favor of Asia-based players.

But three months on, Gartner’s figures suggest HP reclaimed its crown in Q4, shipping 14.6 million PCs to Lenovo’s 14 million.

Gartner said the market is increasingly being eroded by tablets as total unit shipments sank 4.9 percent to 90.3 million units.

But – despite the recent will-they-won’t-they saga over the PSG PC arm – it is a market HP apparently still takes seriously, as Gartner noted that the vendor probably sacrificed profit in its quest to win back share during the quarter. This included some large retail deals targeting the Microsoft Corp. Windows 8 launch and holiday sales.

While Gartner’s Q3 numbers showed Lenovo in first place, IDC’s had HP remaining as market leader. At the time, HP took the unusual step of siding with one analyst over another, as it praised IDC’s numbers for being “more comprehensive”.

This quarter, the two analysts were in agreement over the pecking order, with IDC putting HP on 16.7 percent market share compared with Lenovo’s 15.8 percent.

Turning back to Gartner’s figures, HP’s share remained steady at around 16.2 percent despite shipping slightly fewer units than in Q4 2011. Lenovo rose to second spot following 8.2 percent shipment growth to take 15.5 percent of the market. Dell Inc., which saw its sales drop nearly 21 percent year-over-year, came in third with 10.2 percent of the market while Acer came in fourth with a drop of 9.5 percent  market share on diminishing sales.

Gartner issued a bleak prognosis for the long-term future of the PC market, noting that tablet uptake is causing PC users not to replace older PCs.

Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, said: “Whereas once we imagined a world in which individual users would have both a PC and a tablet as personal devices, we increasingly suspect that most individuals will shift consumption activity to a personal tablet, and perform creative and administrative tasks on a shared PC.

“There will be some individuals who retain both, but we believe they will be exception and not the norm. Therefore, we hypothesize that buyers will not replace secondary PCs in the household, instead allowing them to age out and shifting consumption to a tablet.”

For more UK channel coverage from CRN, visit

Related Articles:

Leave a Reply