Gartner sees the third quarter as historically a strong consumer quarter for PCs but the results for this year were below its earlier market outlook.
The research firm had expected third quarter PC shipments to grow 12.7 per cent but preliminary results show that worldwide shipments surpassed 88.3 million units in the third quarter of 2010, a 7.6 per cent increase from the third quarter of 2009.
Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, noted softness in consumer PC demand in the US and western Europe as the major growth inhibitor in the third quarter of 2010. Low-priced notebooks, including mini-notebooks, slowed the consumer mobile PC demand after very strong growth the past two years.
Kitagawa also blames media tablet hype around devices such as the iPad for affecting consumer notebook growth. This has delayed some PC purchases, especially in the US consumer market.
"Media tablets don't replace primary PCs, but they affect PC purchases in many ways. At this stage, hype around media tablets has led consumers and the channels to take a 'wait and see' approach to buying a new device."
Worldwide PC vendors
Findings from Gartner's research indicate HP to be at the top worldwide position but still experiencing a 20 per cent decline in shipments in Asia/Pacific. Acer too experienced a shipment decline of 1.7 per cent in the third quarter while Dell enjoyed solid growth across most regions.
Lenovo experienced the strongest growth among the top five vendors worldwide. The professional PC market helped boost Lenovo's growth in the US and EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa). PC shipments reached 29.7 million units in the third quarter of 2010 in the Asia Pacific.
While PC shipments in China grew 11.3 per cent over the same quarter last year, in Japan, they surpassed 3.6 million units in the third quarter of 2010, a 14.1 per cent increase from the same period last year.