The worldwide PC market, affected by media tablet sales among other factors, suffered its first year-over-year decline in six quarters, according to preliminary estimates from research firms Gartner and IDC.
In figures released April 13, both firms said they overestimated sales in their forecasts, expecting even modest growth. However, worldwide shipments reached 84.3 million units during the quarter by Gartner's count, for a dip of 1.1 percent from the first quarter of 2010, while IDC put the figure at 80.1 million and down 3.2 percent. In the United States, shipments totaled 16.1 million units by both accounts, compared to 17-million-plus a year ago.
"'Good-enough computing' has become a firm reality, exemplified first by [netbooks] and now media tablets," IDC Senior Research Analyst Jay Chou said in a statement. "Macroeconomic forces can explain some of the ebb and flow of the PC business, but the real question PC vendors have to think hard about is how to enable a compelling user experience that can justify spending on the added horsepower."
The consequences of current events in the Middle East and Japan, Chou added, for now remain unclear but will affect short-term market performance for the year.
In their early estimates, the firms also disagreed about the performances of key players, both in the United States and overall. Hewlett-Packard undoubtedly led in both instances -- on shipments of approximately 15 million units -- despite declining sales. According to Gartner, this was due to weak consumer demand and issues in Asia. However, Gartner again gave Acer second billing, estimating sales of 10.9 million units for 12.9 percent market share, and third place to close rival Dell, on sales on 10 million units and 11.9 percent market share.
IDC, as it did the quarter before, found Dell to have instead bested Acer, granting the former sales of 10.3 million units and 12.8 percent market share and the latter 9 million units and 11.2 percent market share. Both firms agreed, however, that Acer suffered the worst blow of the bunch, "affected by continued turbulence in EMEA [Europe, Middle East, Africa], its biggest market," reported IDC, and still feeling "the pullback in the [netbook] and consumer space, while its upcoming tablets have yet to fill in the void."
For more, read the eWEEK article: Tablets Continue to Eat Into PC Sales: Gartner, IDC.
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