MANILA, Philipppines — Consumers holding off on PC purchases in anticipation of two major refreshes this year — Intel’s new Ivy Bridge processor and Microsoft’s new Windows 8 — slowed down the growth of global PC shipments for the first quarter of 2011, analysts reported Thursday.
In separate releases, research firms Gartner and IDC pegged the growth of worldwide PC market at a modest 1.9 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively, even as issues such as the hard disk drive supply shortage due to the floods in Thailand and the Euro debt crisis continued to hound the personal computing industry.
According to both reports, perennial market leader Hewlett-Packard held on to its top spot in terms of market share, albeit narrowly, as Chinese brand Lenovo continues its ascent to register as much as 40-percent growth during the quarter.
Gartner pointed out, however, that consumers’ relatively lukewarm reception of new products unveiled during the quarter were due to the lingering wait for Intel’s new chip and Microsoft’s update to its operating system.
“The first quarter of 2012 was a transitional period as the PC industry is awaiting two big releases: Intel’s Ivy Bridge and Microsoft’s Windows 8,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner.
Kitagawa said there will be few new products rolled out to the market until the two major releases have taken places, giving rise to an “artificial supply control” that will only affect the market’s growth in the months to come.
Intel is expected to unveil its new 22-nanometer Ivy Bridge processor at the end of the month, while Microsoft’s Windows 8 is slated for an end-2012 release according to reports.
In the US, particularly, IDC said the impending release of Windows 8 has created an “uncertainty” among consumers, which is likely to constraint PC shipments at least until the new operating system’s release.
“We expect vendors, retailers, and channel partners to be working very hard this year to focus their product lines and their general operations as they prepare for the year-end holiday season, because that alone will likely determine if there is any growth at all in the U.S. market in 2012,” said Loren Loverde, IDC vice president of Worldwide Consumer Device Trackers.
Interestingly, IDC noted how new and more interesting PC form factors — such as that of the Ultrabook — have yet to make significant dents in the overall market, even as Intel predicted a 40-percent market composition for Ultrabooks by the end of this year.
Among major vendors, market share rankings remain unchanged for the quarter as Dell retained its third place with around 11 percent market share; followed by the Acer Group with 10 percent; and ASUS with 6 percent.
Apple, however, was the peculiar third-place in the US market, as it held a strong 10.6 percent market share during the first quarter of the year.
“Device vendors that focus on a limited product line will get only a small portion of the consumer wallet,” Gartner explained. “Companies such as Apple can be clear winners because of comprehensive product/service offerings, which gain a large part of consumers’ spending.”