updated 05:50 pm EDT, Wed April 13, 2011
Gartner Q1 2011 has Apple 5th, Acer hurt by iPad
Gartner on Wednesday published a preliminary estimate for winter in sharp contrast to IDC's results that nonetheless shared a view that the iPad was shrinking PC sales, especially those of Acer. It saw Acer still holding on to third place in the US, but the system designer's share dropped 24.9 percent from year-to-year to put it at 11.3 percent of the US. Apple was at fifth place with 9.3 percent, but its market share grew a rapid 18.9 percent and made it the fastest-growing of the group.
The whole US market's PC sales dropped 6.1 percent.
Worldwide, Acer also lost share to hit 12.9 percent, though the blow hadn't been felt as deeply with its 12.9 percent share keeping it just a point ahead of Dell. Like with IDC, Gartner saw Lenovo as the fastest mover with a 16.6 percent jump that brought it to 9.7 percent share. Total computer shipments were down 1.1 percent.
Lead analyst Mikako Kitagawa was more singular in blame than a counterpart at IDC and pinned the drop on tablets, particularly the iPad 2. A slump in home PC buying was put at fault. Windows PC builders' race to the bottom for price was backfiring as it either wasn't enough to get users to buy a new PC or else saw them get a more interesting tablet. Acer faced the worst as its over-dependence on netbooks was coming back to haunt it in the light of the iPad.
"Low prices for consumer PCs, which had long stimulated growth, no longer attracted buyers," Kitagawa said. "Instead, consumers turned their attention to media tablets and other consumer electronics."
Mac sales were distinct in the group for continuing to be strong even despite the usual post-holiday lull others faced. The new MacBook Pro may have been important since it galvanized sales already healthy growth. Dell's 12.1 percent drop in the US was blamed on its leaning too strongly on corporate sales as businesses held off on revamping their lineups.
Acer after about a year of denying any effect from tablets, led almost exclusively by the iPad, recently fired its CEO and began a restructing around mobile devices with PCs focused less on pure market share and more on profit.