updated 03:55 pm EDT, Tue May 24, 2011
Acer suffers worst blow
Media tablets, primarily the iPad, are beginning to have a serious impact on the sale of regular desktop and notebook computers, says research firm IHS iSuppli. The firm reports that global PC shipments amounted to 81.3 million units in Q1 2011, a decline of 0.3 percent from the 81.6 million tallied in Q1 2010. Three out of the top five PC makers recorded distinct shipment declines, with the worst hit being the third-ranked Acer.
Acer saw its shipments drop 20.4 percent, from 11.6 million units to 9.2 million. IHS blames the loss on Acer's reliance on netbooks, which tablets more directly challenge. Acer has only recently tried to introduce its own media tablets, which may be doing better than expected in spite of lackluster reviews.
IHS cautions that "the jury is still out" on the degree to which tablets are damaging PC sales. It suggests, however, that "the rising number of tablet models on the market, along with certain high-profile product launches during the first quarter, caused confusion among consumers as to exactly how to view the tablet platform relative to the PC platform. This contributed to the PC sales decline in the first quarter."
The Q1 impact may not be replicated on a grander scale. Q4 2010 was the "best period ever" for PC sales, fueled by corporate interest, IHS notes. The firm estimates that the market will still grow 8 percent in CY2011 from 345 to 373 million units. The increase would nevertheless be shallower than the 14 percent marked for CY2010.
Outside of Acer, the other PC makers in the top five were HP, Dell, Lenovo and Toshiba. HP slipped 2.1 percent in Q1 2011 shipments, but still managed an 18.9 percent marketshare, leaving it as the top PC vendor. Dell held onto second place with a 12.9 percent share. Lenovo and Toshiba -- fourth and fifth in the rankings -- grew their shipments to take 10 and 5.8 percent of the market.