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IDC: fall 2011 worst year for PCs as drives, tablets dig in

updated 05:50 pm EST, Wed January 11, 2012

IDC shows Apple 3rd in US, Acer drop

Fall 2011 was the worst season for PC growth in the US in a decade, IDC found in preliminary results. The overall PC field shrank 6.7 percent compared to what it had in late 2010, based partly on hard drive shortages triggered by Thailand flooding. However, the iPad and other tablets like it, combined with a tough economy, meant many didn't want PCs, particularly in the "difficult competitive landscape" of the US as well as Western Europe.

A breakdown of expected US results showed a near-universal decline among Windows PC builders. Market share leader HP bled 25.3 percent of its shipments, hurt in part by the doubts ex-CEO Leo Apotheker cast on the business. Acer continued its own decline of the past two years and was down almost 14.4 percent to just slightly hold on to fifth place. Only Apple gained at all among the top five, moving up 18 percent.

Worldwide, the decline wasn't as severe at 0.17 percent overall, but it still represented a stark contrast to earlier increases. HP and Acer here also lost shipments, mostly to fast-growing Asian PC builders ASUS (up 26.3 percent) and Lenovo (36.8 percent).

The end-of-year estimates showed just how rapidly the market had shifted. HP lost only a small amount of share worldwide and in the US, but Acer had lost 13.9 percent of its once second-place share on the global stage and a record 30.4 percent in the US. Apple wasn't big enough to register in the top five worldwide, but it jumped 16.4 points to claim third place in the US for the entire year, knocking Toshiba and Acer down.

Although the aftermath of the floods is proving to be better than expected, shortages are still expected to continue into early next year. It's also unclear whether Acer or HP will have a chance to turn around their businesses in 2012, particularly for an Acer that has acknowledged it's still over-dependent on netbooks and entry-level notebooks that are the iPad's main target.

by MacNN Staff



  1. gprovida

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Units "sold"?

    How about income earned on sold PCs and profit earned on sold PCs? My bet is that the story looks very different among these unit shippers as a ranking. While IDC doesn't seem to recognize the income and earning are what really count, the CES obsession in copying Apple MacBook Airs and Pro and iMacs is start evidence on where the real competitive status lies.

  1. SockRolid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Bad economy = bad excuse

    Just imagine how well Apple will do when the economy recovers. Apple profitability is growing rapidly in the middle of the worst recession in modern times. And when that recession inevitably ends, Apple products will still be right at the top of everyone's wish lists.

    Ironic that the PC vendors, who are watching their profitability and sales decline, used to think that tough economic conditions would work in their favor. That consumers and businesses would buy cheap netbooks and generic PCs and hurt Mac sales. Nope. iMacs and MacBooks are selling better than ever. (And good luck selling Ultrabooks, running Windows, for $1300.)

    The PC manufacturers also thought that $500 Windows "slates" would undercut the impending iPad, which they all assumed would be priced at $1000. Wrong. Their worst nightmare came true. iPad delivers Apple quality, ease-of-use, and integration with the ecosystem, at affordable prices. And when consumers have money to burn during the next economic boom, they're still not going to waste money on junky iPad clones. They'll just get the real thing.

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