Electronics Production | September 20, 2011

China’s Lenovo becomes third largest PC OEM in Q2

Capitalizing on strong sales in China and the United States—as well as on a weak performance by close rival Acer Inc.—Lenovo Group Ltd. in the second quarter rose one rank to became the world’s third largest PC brand, according to IHS iSuppli.
Lenovo posted the strongest percentage growth among the world’s Top 5 PC makers in the second quarter, on both a sequential and annual basis. The Chinese company’s 10.2 million shipments in the second quarter were up 25.6 percent from 8.2 million units in the first quarter, and also represented an increase of 23 percent from 8.3 million in the second quarter of 2010.

On the other end of the spectrum, Taiwan’s Acer in the second quarter suffered the only sales decline among the Top 5. Acer’s 8.9 million shipments declined 4 percent from 9.2 million in the first quarter, and fell 20 percent from 11.1 million in the second quarter of 2010, as presented in the table below.

The two companies’ diverging fortunes caused Lenovo to rise to third place in the global PC business, up from fourth in the first quarter—while Acer dropped one rank to fourth.

“Beyond the continuing strength in its home market of China—where the both the economy and PC demand continued to expand vigorously—Lenovo’s performance in the second quarter was boosted by rising sales in other regions,” said Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst, compute platforms for IHS. “These regions included the broader Asia-Pacific area, as well as the United States, with Lenovo performing well in those places because of demand from the enterprise segment. Meanwhile, Acer suffered from inventory problems, particularly in Western Europe, which lowered its shipments and resulted in lost market share.”

Acer began a process in the second quarter to improve its channel inventory management. However, because of weaker PC consumer demand, channel inventories did not deplete as quickly as hoped, resulting in reduced need for restocking by the company.

Lenovo’s rise to third place ties its highest ranking ever, with the company previously having ascended to that position for a few quarters in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Acer’s drop to fourth place represents a stunning reversal of fortune for a company that was the No. 2 PC brand in the world during a three-quarter period in 2009 and 2010.

Apple’s growth ripens in Q2

Besides Lenovo, only two other PC brands achieved double-digit year-over-year growth in the second quarter: No. 7 Apple Inc. of the United States and No. 8 Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. of South Korea.

Propelled by strong growth in its desktop and notebook business, Apple’s PC shipments amounted to 3.8 million, up 13.6 percent from 3.3 million in the second quarter of 2010. Apple recorded the third highest year-over growth in desktop shipments among the Top 10 PC original equipment manufacturers, with only Lenovo and another Chinese company, Haier, experiencing larger expansions. Apple also posted the third largest growth in notebook shipments, bested only by Lenovo and Samsung.

“Apple’s growth is attributable to its products being highly desirable and continuing to appeal to consumers, despite the weaker consumer demand environment,” Wilkins stated. “The company’s performance was so strong that Apple now is less than 1 percentage point away from having sufficient market share to enter the Top 5 rankings.”

Meanwhile, Samsung posted the highest growth of any Top-10 PC brand in the second quarter, with its shipments rising by a stunning 31.3 percent to 3.1 million units, up from 2.4 million during the same period in 2010.

Asus enters the Top 5

Taiwanese PC brand Asustek Computer Inc. (Asus) shipped 4.6 million PCs in the second quarter, up 5.3 percent from 4.3 million in the first quarter and an 8.4 percent increase from 4.2 million during the second quarter of 2010. This impressive growth allowed Asus to overtake Japan’s Toshiba Corp. and become the No. 5 brand.

“Asus delivered strong growth in emerging markets—including Eastern Europe and Asia-Pacific—allowing the company to rise one rank and enter the Top 5,” Wilkins said.

The PC market returns to growth

After contracting on a sequential and annual basis during the first three months of the year, the global PC market returned to growth in the second quarter, with total shipments of 85.6 million units, up 3.7 percent from 82.6 million during 2010, and increasing 6 percent from 80.8 million in the first quarter of 2011.

The PC industry at present is enjoying strong demand driven by efforts among information technology (IT) departments of corporate entities to refresh their hardware. The healthy corporate demand allowed the Top 2 PC vendors—Hewlett-Packard Co. and Dell Inc.—to maintain their leadership positions.
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