Global PC shipments dropped by 3.2pc during the first quarter of 2011, though small areas of growth remained, according to analysts at IDC.
IDC originally expected a small growth of 1.5pc, however, the rise in fuel and commodity prices along with the earthquake in Japan impacted this expectation. Mature regions were more focused on buying PCs as necessary replacements, rather than new purchases.
Analysts also said PCs face stiff competition from netbooks and tablets and that vendors must consider highlighting what a more heavy-weight machine can offer consumers.
“While the consequences of events in the Middle East and Japan remain unclear, these will surely be factors that will influence short-term market performance for 2011,” said Jay Chou, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker.
“Long-term success will depend on hardware manufacturers being able to articulate a message that is beyond simple hardware specifications. ‘Good-enough computing’ has become a firm reality, exemplified first by mini notebooks and now media tablets.
“Macroeconomic forces can explain some of the ebb and flow of the PC business, but the real question PC vendors have to think hard about is how to enable a compelling user experience that can justify spending on the added horsepower,” said Chou.
In Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) PC shipments contracted further than the IDC expected, thanks to wariness from consumers and businesses.
The recall of Sandy Bridge systems only affected small volumes but had a big impact on orders, which were cancelled and delayed as a result.
HP declined 2.8pc in comparison from last year. While it outperformed in most markets, it struggled in Asia/Pacific regions, excluding Japan.
Dell experienced poor sales in key markets, such as the US, but its decline was offset by successes in emerging markets. Volume declined at 1.8pc.
Acer’s shipments were affected by wariness in the EMEA market. Lenovo slightly outperformed, with shipments posting 16.3pc growth and remained dominant in Asia/Pacific markets. Its desktop and portable PCs grew in double digits compared to 2010.
In this quarter of 2011, Toshiba’s shipments grew by 3.8pc, thanks to its focus in solid designs for portable PCs and a lack of exposure in the mini-notebook segment. It gained in all markets except the EMEA.