Lenovo is world's #1 PC maker

Lenovo has taken the crown from HP to become the world's top seller of PCs.

Lenovo has taken the crown from HP to become the world's top seller of PCs.
Lenovo took the top spot during a quarter in which PC shipments dropped due to a weak economy and pressure from mobile devices.

Of the top four PC vendors (Acer, Dell, HP and Lenovo), only Lenovo was able to grow its shipments. Its PC sales increased by almost 10 percent to 13.77 million units, giving it 15.7 percent of the market, according to Gartner.

HP's shipments dropped 16.4 percent to 13.55 million, putting it in second place with 15.5 percent of the market. Dell was in third place after its shipments declined by 13.7 percent, with 10.5 percent of the market.

A similar study by IDC had HP clinging to its top spot, with 13.95 million PCs sold compared to 13.82 million for Lenovo. HP responded by saying IDC takes a more complete view of the market.

"While there are a variety of PC share reports in the market, some don't measure the market in its entirety. The IDC analysis includes the workstation segment and is more comprehensive. In that IDC report, HP occupies the number-one position in PCs," said HP spokesman Mike Hockey.

Steps to success

Lenovo benefitted from building up its distribution channel and from "missteps" by its rivals, IDC said. HP is still trying to get its PC business back on track after reversing a plan to sell or spin off the division, and Dell has been moving away from lower-margin PCs and focusing on products that yield bigger profits.

Overall worldwide PC shipments totalled 87.5 million units in the third quarter of 2012, down 8.3 percent compared to the same quarter last year, Gartner said.

The third quarter, which includes the back-to-school season and is usually strong for PC shipments, was hit with weak economies globally and by buyers moving to smartphones and tablets for their computing. In addition, Ultrabooks failed to spark a revival in PC shipments, IDC said.

Strengthening the PC market

Looking ahead, the research firm expects the weak PC market to continue until the release of Windows 8, said David Daoud, a research director at IDC.

The US presidential election in November could also help the PC market, he said, by bringing some clarity to the US' economic plans and thus encouraging vendors to invest in new product development.

Vendors have been trying to clear out their Windows 7 PC inventory, and demand dropped as buyers waited for Windows 8 to arrive, Daoud said. The new OS could help PC sales recover in the fourth quarter.

Beyond Windows 8, a recovery in PC sales will depend on the success of thinner, lighter PCs. including products with tablet - like features such as touchscreens, instant - on functionality and longer battery life.

"Revival of the PC market will be linked to the way people look at the next generation of PCs," Daoud said. Ultrabook prices will also need to come down, he added.