Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Gartner Data Shows HP Remained King of Shrinking PC Market in 2012

rocky2-champ-featureHewlett-Packard held on to its position as the world’s biggest vendor of personal computers in 2012, but it was a dubious achievement, as the global PC sales market declined by nearly 13 million units from 2011.

That’s the assessment of market research firm Gartner, whose PC market data was released today. It’s also roughly in line with data released by research firm IDC on Friday.

First, the quarterly rankings: Gartner was notable in the third quarter of 2012 for giving the top spot in the market to China’s Lenovo, while HP remained atop the IDC ranking. The difference is that IDC counts workstations — tricked-out professional PCs — while Gartner does not.

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Gartner says HP may have sacrificed some profit margins to hold on to market share, while Lenovo’s growth rate kept it under pressure. Dell’s year-on-year PC sales on a unit basis cratered by more than 20 percent.

Obviously, Windows 8 didn’t spur any growth. And a lot of hope for getting PC sales going north again lies in smaller, lighter devices like Ultrabooks and convertible tablets — notebooks with detachable displays. But the fact is that dedicated tablets like the iPad have taken the life out of PC sales for a few years in a row now.

Here’s the table for the full year. The notable figure here is the 6.7 percent decline in units sales for HP, which is nearly twice the size of the industry’s decline as a whole. HP won the year, but it sure looks like it hurt.

As analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights and Strategy put it: “This shows two things. First, when HP decides to stem the flow of PC market share loss, they can and did it with a much-improved PC line-up. Second, it demonstrates that Lenovo, who for a time looked infallible, is actually human in the PC space.”

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