PC market growth falters as tablet demand slows

Tablet shipment growth slowed during the second quarter of 2013, blighting the performance of the PC market as a whole, according to figures from Canalys.

The analyst house described the worldwide performance of the PC market as flat, as the increase in tablet shipments (42.9 per cent) was offset by declines in the desktop (7.4 per cent) and notebook (13.9 per cent) categories.

Meanwhile, in EMEA, PC shipments were down three per cent on Q2 2012, which is the first decline recorded in that region following two successive quarters of double-digit growth.

With tablet vendors attacking Apple on price, it must bring fresh innovation to future generations of its iPad range if it is to maintain its hold on the PC market.

Within Western Europe, Canalys reported an annual decline in PC shipments of 10 per cent, while Central and Eastern Europe experienced a three per cent drop over the same time period.

In previous quarters, the analyst's figures have painted a slighter brighter picture of the PC market than the likes of Gartner and IDC because of its decision to include tablet shipments in its quarterly tracker.

According to the company's take on the tablet market, Apple maintained its position as the leader of the PC market in Q2, with a 4.5 million unit lead, but experienced a two per cent year-on-year drop in market share (from 17.1 per cent to 19.4 per cent) because of a downturn in iPad shipments.

This was flagged by Canalys' tablet market tracker report last week that blamed growing consumer appetites for smaller devices for the slow down in sales of full-sized Apple iPads in recent quarters.

"Desktop and notebook shipments only accounted for around 20 per cent of its total PC shipments, " Canalys remarked.

"With tablet vendors attacking Apple on price, it must bring fresh innovation to future generations of its iPad range if it is to maintain the lead it has built in the PC market," the company added.

Meanwhile, second place Lenovo saw its share of the notebook, tablet and desktop PC market increase during Q2, while HP reclaimed the third place spot from Samsung, thanks in part to the release of its Android-running Slate 7 tablet.

Pin-Chen Tang, research analyst at Canalys, said HP also continued to reap the benefits of having a broader enterprise portfolio and geographic spread than many of its other PC-making rivals.

"To increase its market share, it should look to leverage its strengths in the enterprise to advance Android in business," Tang added.

Android's share of the PC market has increased over the past year from six per cent in Q2 2013 to 17 per cent this quarter, but weaknesses in the mobile operating system's security and management capabilities is holding back adoption by business users, Canalys claims.

"With the likes of HP, Lenovo and Samsung looking to use Android to compete with iOS in the tablet space, the platform is well placed to continue increasing its share," the analyst said.

"[But] Google, or its partners, must address this shortfall [in its security and management capabilities] quickly if it is to penetrate the enterprise."

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.