October 13, 2010 / 10:11 PM / 7 years ago

Third-quarter PC growth weaker than expected

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Worldwide sales of personal computers grew more slowly than expected in the third-quarter, according to industry data released on Wednesday, hampered by weak consumer spending in the United States.

PC shipments rose 11 percent to 89.7 million units in the July-September period, according to industry tracker IDC. That was below its forecast of 13.5 percent.

Separately, research group Gartner said PC units grew 7.6 percent, versus its prediction of 12.7 percent.

While businesses continued to spend as they upgraded aging PCs, tentative consumers resulted in a tepid back-to-school season in the U.S. The market rebounded in September but it was not enough.

IDC said the U.S. experienced 3.8 percent growth, well off its expectation of near 11 percent. Other regions came in roughly in line with its expectations.

“July and August were terrible months, everybody was wait-and-see before they made any purchases,” said IDC analyst David Daoud.

Top vendors Hewlett-Packard, Acer Inc and Dell Inc all turned in below-market performances in the third-quarter, according to IDC.

Daoud added: “There was also psychology involved, with Apple launching the iPad and people anticipating new products hitting the market, it all contributed.”

The iPad, a 10-inch touchscreen tablet, ate into sales of low-cost netbooks, which have seen robust demand over the past few years.

The third-quarter PC data does not include sales of the iPad or other tablet devices.

Looking ahead, IDC forecast global PC growth of 7.4 percent in the fourth-quarter.

MAJOR VENDORS SLUMP

Top PC maker HP turned in the weakest performance of the major vendors, hurt by the weak U.S. consumer and a sales dropoff in the Asia-Pacific region.

HP’s PC shipments were essentially flat from a year ago, and the company lost two percentage points of market share, falling to 17.6 percent.

Second-place Acer’s market share slipped to 13 percent, while Dell’s dipped to 12.4 percent.

Lenovo Group Ltd and Asustek Computer Inc both posted robust growth above 30 percent, while Toshiba grew at a roughly 15 percent rate.

Apple does not rank among the top six PC makers globally, but the company turned in a strong performance. Sales of its Mac computers grew 24 percent in the third-quarter in the U.S., where it ascended to the No. 3 ranking, IDC said.

Reporting by Gabriel Madway; Editing by Bernard Orr

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