IDC and Gartner fight over half empty glass

half-emptyBeancounters at IDC and Gartner seem to be disagreeing on the state of the PC market during the last quarter of last year.

IDC tells us that it was the first fourth quarter growth in six years while Gartner claims the PC market is getting worse.

IDC claims that global PC shipments were up 0.7 per cent to 70.6 million, but  Gartner thinks that shipments dropped two per cent to 71.6 million.

It looks like the problem might be one of defining what a PC is.  IDC thinks that Chromebooks are real PCs and includes them in the figures and Gartner thinks they are not and doesn’t.

But both seem to have different views of the PC industry in general.

IDC said the figures “further validate the view of a steadying, albeit still weak” PC market, but Gartner said its own figures prove that the PC market is still in transition and will weaken further as buyers switch their attention from budget computers to high end machines.

IDC thought that  market demand was driven by a desire from PC suppliers to snap up machines before components shortages drive up prices further. It claimed that organisations were shifting their attention back to notebooks, with the tablet market in a state of flux.

Big G sees it all as a epic tale of struggle for the market.  Its principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa believes that the PC will become a more specialised, purpose-driven device.

“PC buyers will look for quality and functionality rather than looking for the lowest price, which will increase PC average selling prices and improve profitability in the long run. However, until this point is reached, the market will have to go through a shrinking phase caused by fewer PC users.”

At least both beancounters agreed on the rankings of the PC market’s key players, with HP ranked first by shipments with a market share of around 23 percent, slightly ahead of Lenovo.

HP also saw the greatest quarterly growth (8.3 percent according to Gartner and 6.6 percent according to IDC), while Asus suffered the biggest year-on-year decline at around 11 percent.

In Europe, Gartner blamed the UK for contributing to a year-on-year shipment decline of 1.4 percent, down to 21.8 million.

Gartner said that the UK market was “ailing”, while shipments in Germany were lower than expected in the quarter.