Driven by price cuts, worldwide PC shipments totaled 54.9 million units in the second quarter of 2006, an 11-percent increase from the same period last year, according to preliminary results by research firm Gartner, Inc.
Central processing unit (CPU) inventory clearance activity by Intel, and generally more aggressive pricing by Intel and AMD attributed to lower prices in the quarter. The impact of the CPU price decline varied among regions. In the U.S. and Asia/Pacific, the cuts boosted shipments, while in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) where there remains higher than normal finished goods inventory, shipments were adversely impacted.
"On a worldwide basis, large vendors continued to gain share at the expense of mid-tier vendors and system builders," said Charles Smulders, vice president of Gartner's Client Computing Group. "The price cuts during the quarter undoubtedly helped the large vendors, as they were able to put more pricing pressure on the smaller players. Intel's accelerated ramp on its new CPU lines will expose those vendors who have not invested enough in tools and processes to manage their supply chain."
In the second quarter of 2006, the top 5 vendors – Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Acer, and Toshiba -- accounted for nearly 50 percent of the worldwide PC market. Dell maintained its No. 1 position in worldwide PC shipments, as it continued to grow much faster outside the U.S. Hewlett-Packard continued to show strength in the worldwide market, backed by solid consumer growth, mainly in mature markets.
The EMEA region experienced single-digit growth for the first time in 3 years, as PC shipments in the region totaled 16.7 million units, a 7-percent increase from the same period last year. The slower growth rate was exaggerated by vendors and the channel trying to reduce high PC inventory positions, as well as working to ensure the RoHS recycling directive compliance.
The PC market in the U.S. grew 6.4 percent, as shipments reached 16.6 million units in the second quarter. Dell grew at the industry average in the U.S., and this performance was much better than the first quarter. HP had much faster growth than the U.S. industry average due to strong consumer shipments.
Asia/Pacific and Latin America continued to be the regions with the strongest growth rates. The Asia/Pacific PC market grew 22.5 percent, as shipments reached 12.4 million units in the second quarter. The region was driven by mobile PC shipments, which increased 48 percent in the quarter compared to the same period last year. Latin America PC shipments increased 27 percent in the second quarter with shipments totaling 4.2 million units. Local-branded vendors experienced accelerated growth due to their strong retail presence and their participation in low cost PC programs.
In Japan, PC market growth was nearly flat as shipments reached 3.5 million units in the second quarter, a 0.5 percent increase from the same period last year. Negative consumer growth was offset by stronger sales in the professional market.
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