SAN FRANCISCO — China's Lenovo Group Ltd. steamed into the No. 1 position in the global PC market in the second quarter, supplanting longtime leader Hewlett-Packard Co., according to market research firm International Data Corp. (IDC).
IDC, of Framingham, Mass., reported that total second-quarter PC shipments amounted to 75.6 million, down 11 percent from the second quarter of 2012. The shipment total was in line with IDC's forecast for the quarter.
In a statement summarizing the latest edition of its "Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker," IDC said the bleak overall shipment numbers "reflect a market that is still struggling with the transition to touch-based systems running Windows 8 as well as justifying ultrabook prices in the face of economic pressures and competition from tablets and other devices."
IDC added that a number of PC vendors seemed to stress inventory reduction in the second quarter, which the firm said could point to plans to launch newer models in the second half of the year.
"With second quarter growth so close to forecast, we are still looking for some improvement in growth during the second half of the year," said Jay Chou, senior analyst for IDC Worldwide PC Tracker, in the statement.
In catapulting to the top of the PC vendor rankings, Lenovo lengthened a streak of impressive gains following channel expansion and solid product development. While Lenovo continued to make gains outside of Asia, headwinds in China caused the firm's PC shipments to decline by more than 10 percent in the Asia/Pacific region (excluding Japan), IDC said. China represents more than 50 percent of Lenovo's PC shipments.
Despite HP's fall from the top spot, both HP and fellow US PC vendor Dell Inc. saw growth improve over recent quarters in the second quarter, potentially a sign of stronger performance in coming quarters. Lenovo also grew faster than the market (as well as faster than HP and Dell) although Lenovo's shipments actually contracted by 1.4 percent, according to IDC.
Chou said economic growth has slowed in Europe and China, but that the outlook for the US economy has brightened. But he believes weakness in emerging markets poses a threat to PC sales:
"While efforts by the PC ecosystem to bring down price points and embrace touch computing should make PCs more attractive, a lot still needs to be done in launching attractive products and addressing competition from devices like tablets."