Analyst: Testing year ahead for PCs

Analyst: Testing year ahead for PCs

The imminent threat of media tablets is undoubtedly a potential inhibiting factor to the growth of the PC market in 2011.

The tablet hype is set to create a challenging year for vendors to pull the attention back to PCs, according to analyst firm, IDC.

Despite a weaker fourth quarter performance, the Australian PC market managed to grow 20 per cent year-on-year in 2010, reaching 5.7 million shipped units.

Overall, Q4 2010 PC shipments increased 4 per cent sequentially and 14 per cent year-on-year, according to IDC Australia quarterly PC tracker.

IDC market analyst, Amy Cheah, warned it would be a tough fight for PC vendor’s to gain a share of the consumer’s wallet. Weak consumer confidence will also impact the market this year.

“Although we see the rapid growth of media tablets as adding to the pie, there are more options out there for end users to choose from,” Cheah said.

With the new iPad 2 and several more Android Honeycomb tablets bound for the tablet hungry Australian market, the imminent threat of media tablets is undoubtedly a potential inhibiting factor to the growth of the PC market in 2011.

The unexpected interest rate hike, and natural disasters such as the Queensland floods, contributed to a sluggish retail performance, Cheah highlighted.

Despite these tough conditions in Q4, HP regained its number one spot from Acer in the consumer space.

“Most consumer-centric vendors such as Acer, Toshiba and ASUS experienced weak consumer uptake and struggled to clear the backlog of stocks in the channels following a strong quarter in Q3," Cheah said. "Interestingly, Apple managed to generate a healthy growth with the introduction of its new 11-inch Macbook Air.”

Delays in the announcement of the Federal Whole-of-Government Desktop Panel also meant that shipments were only rolled out towards the end of Q4. In the education space, there was large uptake from schools as part of the Digital Education Revolution program.

The analyst firm has adjusted its Q1 2011 forecast, bringing it down 6 per cent to 1.4 million units shipped, due to the flood disasters in Queensland and other parts of Victoria and NSW seriously impacting the local coal mining industry, local businesses and consumer sentiment.

However, as flood rebuilding accelerates in the second half of the calendar year, the PC market is expected to recover as insurance claims flow through and end users look to replace damaged/lost PCs.

Adding to the forecast consideration is Intel's Sandy Bridge design flaw issue which saw many vendors having to push back their product refresh plans in Q1 2011. “Channel partners were also reluctant to take on more faulty systems and would rather wait till the fixed chipsets arrive as doubtful end users put off spending in fear of long term complications,” Cheah said. "Nonetheless, Intel's quick turnaround time will be a relief to all as the fixed chipsets are expected to arrive in time for the June tax rush period before the end of financial year."

    Australian PC shipments by vendor Q4 2010

  • 1. HP 22 per cent
  • 2. Acer 15 per cent
  • 3. Dell 14 per cent
  • 4. Apple 11 per cent
  • 5. Toshiba 10 per cent
  • Others 28 per cent

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Tags HPAppleacerDellIDCtoshibapc marketmarket forecast

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