Taiwanese vendor Asus has released a video because it has had enough of its partners mispronouncing its name.
Most of them default to the classic “eh-sus” when it should be the more mythological pronunciation ‘Ay-Zeus.’
In a post on Linked In linking to the video, AZEUS’s UK marketing director John Swatton said he had “lost count” of how many people have asked him how to pronounce its brand over the past year.
This is despite Taiwan-based ASUS now being EMEA’s third-largest PC manufacturer, behind only HP and Lenovo, but people never get the pronunciation right.
“So our designers created a video using a radio ad that we ran last year. Hopefully the next time I’m cold-called, the caller might pronounce our brand correctly,” Swatton said.
“Originally named after Pegasus, the winged horse of Greek mythology, but now sounds like Zeus, the God of storms and thunder,” the video says. Maybe they should have spelt it with a Z in the first place. Zeus might not be that impressed either, which is why our last Asus developed a sudden electrical fault which caused it to be packed off to Hades early.
While there were shortages
of monitor panels last year that caused only 133.6 million units to ship, some vendors have done better than expected.
Those are vendors that bundle monitors with desktops, according to research outfit WitsView.
And Dell is one those that does just that. Replacements for Windows XP had a knock off effect that put Dell on top with a market share of 15.8 percent worldwide.
Another PC manufacturer, Lenovo, also had a boost from the enterprise market and had 9.7 percent market share.
The top 10 vendors are Dell, Philips, Samsung, HP, LGE, Lenovo, Acer, Asus, Viewsonic and Benq,
Philips had a particularly good year in China.
Samsung, which was top vendor for four clear years, only managed to make it to number three with 11.9 percent market share.
HP had 10.7 percent commercial monitor market share, so it’s breathing down Samsung’s neck.
Things went better for
the notebook industry last year, according to a report from Taiwanese research house Trendforce.
That was largely due to people replacing Windows XP systems and the market itself promoting low priced notebooks.
The survey said shipments of notebooks in 2014 hit 175.5 million, a year n year growth of 3.6 percent.
The leader in the X86 pack was HP, followed by Lenovo, Dell, Asus and Acer.
But the real stellar performer in 2014 was Apple, because it lowered some prices. It showed year on year growth of 46.4 percent, and increased its market share to 9.3 percent.
Here, according to Trendforce, are the top runners and riders in the notebook race.
Sales of PCs
in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) grew by two percent in the fourth quarter of last year.
Although that’s hardly a stellar figure, Western Europe showed better results with growth of 10.7 percent.
In all, shipments amounted to 93.3 million units.
IDC’s report said that the market grew because of healthier shipments to ordinary people in the quarter, with vendors stocking up for Christmas and January sales.
Next month, there will be Microsoft promotions which will bring prices down on notebooks with less than 15-inch screens.
HP, and Lenovo dominated the market place, with shares of 23.3 percent and 19.6 percent respectively.
Dell has 9.8 percent share in EMEA, followed by Acer, Asus and “others”.
Shipments of PCs
during any fourth quarter used to be strong until two years ago.
But figures released by Gartner said that worldwide PC shipments grew by a miserly one percent during the last quarter of 2014.
Shipments amounted to 83.7 million units and analysts at the company think the results are a “slow but consistent improvement after two years of decline”.
Tablets had been responsible for displacing PCs but that peaked in 2013 and the first half of last year.
People are drifting back to PCs, said Gartner, although different regions showed different results.
The US market showed the highest growth and the European region was strong too.
Lenovo is now the worldwide leader in shipments with 19.4 percent of the market, followed by HP and Dell. Acer and Asus were fourth and fifth.
HP showed growth of 16 percent in the quarter, while Lenovo’s growth slowed.
The chief driver for sales were mobile PCs including thin and light. Prices around the $300 mark helped boost sales.
Despite evidence that sales of tablets showed signs of decline in 2014, one market intelligence is bucking the trend by predicting healthy sales in 2015.
ABI Research said that although 2014 was “lacklustre”, it predicted that there will be solid growth during the next five years with shipments of tablets close to 290 million units in 2019.
But the growth is not for every vendor – Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble and Google will show year on year falls in shipments.
On the other hand, Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, LG, Microsoft and Samsung are predicted to show higher volumes in 2014.
Senior analyst Jeff Orr doesn’t have good news for Apple. He said: “Historically, Apple has counted approximately 35 percent of its iPad sales in the last calendar quarter of the year. Unless Apple can pull off a 32+ million unit quarter, sales for 2014 will be down for the first year since the iPad launched.”
He said that Apple probably shipped 68 million iPads in 2014, but managed to sell 74 million in 2013.
On the operating systems front, Android has 54 percent of branded tablets, Apple iOS has fallen to 41 percent, and Windows 8 has a meagre five percent of shipments.
While some say that the phenomenal growth of tablet sales is starting to wane, a report today claims that the situation is quite different.
IDC said that the worldwide tablet market grew by 11.5 percent in the third quarter of 2014 – shipments totalled 53.8 million units.
The market research company said that sales were boosted by the “back to school” season and also an increased appetite for tablets in the US – one of the biggest markets.
Apple is still the leader in tablets, but is continuing to see a decline in its sales. It shipped 12.3 million units in the third quarter, while Samsung shipped 9.9 million units and despite being second has an 18.3 percent market share. Asus displaced Lenovo from number three.
Next was Asus, followed by Lenovo and in number five position is RCA, which got to its worldwide position by shipping 2.6 million tablets in the USA.
Apple and Samsung are going to have to fight hard to keep their place as leaders of the tablet pack.
Because, according to market intelligence firm ABI Research, other vendors including Asus, Lenovo and Amazon are fighting hard for third place and creeping up on the leaders.
These emerging vendors are set to experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.8 percent between 2014 and 2019. Lenovo, for example will ship 21 million tablets by 2019.
Samsung saw a 35 percent decline in growth between Q1 2014 and the second quarter, while Apple saw a 19 percent decline.
In the first quarter, Apple and Samsung had a hefty 72 percent of the marketplace but their combined market share dropped to 66 percent and that’s the way things are headed.
In fact, ABI Research thinks that advanced and mature markets are experiencing a stall in growth, partly because tablets don’t need replacing every few years like notebook PCs.
A report from market research firm IDC said there are indications that shipments of PCs in the European, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) stabilised in the first quarter of this year.
21.8 million units shipped in EMEA, a decline of 1.1 percent compared to the same quarter last year.
But Western Europe showed a growth of 8.6 percent, spurred by business demand. If that percentage is taken as a pie, commerical units showed an increase of 15.1 percent, while the retail market showed growth of 2.1 percent.
It’s the end of support for Windows XP that drove the rebound, according to Chrystelle Labesque of IDC. And companies have started to invest in IT again, she said. There is more business confidence. Neverless, the overall PC market in central and eastern Europe and in the Middle East and Africa showed a year on year decline of 12 percent.
HP did well, as did Lenovo, while Dell was in third place and Acer in fourth place. Asus took the fifth place.
While Western Europe and the USA are showing signs of saturation for tablet sales, it looks like some regions are continuing to boom.
A report from IDC said that PC tablets grew 111 percent year on year in the last quarter of 2013 in the Middle East and African (MEA) markets.
Shipments amounted to 3.45 million units and both the home segment and the corporate segment showed steady growth. The educational market also saw growth.
Huawei won a deal to supply around 90,000 units in South Africa in the education sector.
Android wins the game – 2.8 million units shipped up 16 percent compared to the same quarter in 2012. iOS fell and Windows OS lost share in Q4 2013.
Top vendor was Samsung, followed by Apple, Lenovo, Asus and Huawei.
The PC market will fall further in 2014, while tablets will grow significantly, IDC said.
The news for resellers specialising in the PC business in western Europe continues to be gloomy, apart from those specialising in the enterprise sector.
Gartner issued a report that said the market fell in western Europe by four percent in the last quarter of 2013.
And it’s all PC segments. Mobile and desktop PC shipments fell by 6.5 percent and 0.3 percent respectively. Sales to enterprises fell by 1.7 percent while sales of PCs to individual people fell by seven percent.
However, it’s not all bad news. Gartner said that large corporations are switching away from Windows XP – support from Microsoft ceases in April.
HP is the number one player, followed by Lenovo, Acer, Asus, and Apple. The total number of PCs shipped in Q4 2013 amounted to 14,671,825.
PC shipments in the UK amounted to 2.9 million units in the quarter, down 6.7 percent compared to the same quarter in 2012.
Mobile shipments fell 10 percent.
HP, Lenovo, Dell, Toshiba and Apple were the top five vendors in the UK for the quarter.
Quanta Computer, the world’s biggest laptop maker for hire, has slashed its tablet shipment forecast for 2013 from 20 million units to just 15 million. The reason? Cheap white-box tablets.
“We were optimistic about the company’s tablet shipments this year and didn’t expect that our clients’ products would face pricing competition from Chinese white-brands,” Quanta vice chairman C.C. Leung said in a conference call, reports Taipei Times.
In other words, it wasn’t exactly Quanta’s fault, it was their clients’ fault. Amazon and Google account for the majority of Quanta’s tablet orders and they obviously underestimated the impact of cheap white-box tablets on Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire sales.
However, Quanta still believes it will be able to ship 20 million tablets – next year, of course.
Luckily Quanta did not see a dip in laptop shipments and its annual forecast of 44 million units still stands. In addition, Quanta is hoping to see plenty of growth in server shipments next year thanks to growing demand for could servers.
Now that even grocers are targeting the 7-inch tablet segment, the dog eat dog of cheap tablets is getting even more brutal. Chinese white-box players are further cutting their prices, according to channel sources cited by Digitimes.
A quick glance at tablet prices in the UK and the continent reveals that there are already heaps of tablets priced at £99 or less, with some truly cheap models going for as little as £49.
What’s more, some big vendors like Asus, Acer and Lenovo also have products at or close to the £99 mark and let’s not forget Tesco’s impressive Hudl, which is priced at £119 yet it features a much better screen than similarly priced tablets.
Google and Amazon had a thing or two to do with this trend. The Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 series of tablets reinvented the £199 space last year, so quite a few companies introduced similar products and similar price points. As a result, the white-box crowd has no choice but to run for the hills, or in this case for the bargain bin.
This doesn’t appear to bode well for big brands. It was recently reported that Google was forced to slash orders for the second generation Nexus 7 due to soft demand. People who want cheap tablets seem to be going after even cheaper models and the £/$199 price point is now practically reserved for high-end 7-inch tablets.
In addition, the market share of small white-box outfits is going up, from 26 percent in Q2 2012 to 39 percent in Q2 2013. The top five brands are losing share, but if the prices of entry level Asus, Acer and Lenovo tablets are anything to go by – they are not far behind in the race to the bottom.
Notebook shipments appear to be recovering, albeit slightly, after several consecutive quarters of unparalleled awfulness. We are quite used to hideous numbers by now, but Digitimes Research is reporting that notebook shipments of the top five brands grew by 22 percent, while the top three ODMs saw 11 percent of growth in August, compared to July.
HP saw the most growth, up 50 percent, while Lenovo and Acer saw their shipments grow by 25 and 20 percent respectively. Asus shipments dropped, while Dell’s appear to be stagnating.
Wistron outperformed other ODMs with 20 percent on-month growth in August, thanks to strong shipments from HP and Lenovo. Quanta and Inventec grew by more than 10 percent, Compal was saw some single-digit growth, while Pegatron’s shipments dropped due to lower orders from Asus.
A word of caution is advised. The upsurge has a lot more to do with seasonal trends than actual end-user demand. The notebook market still remains very weak and soft demand is expected over the next few quarters, if not years.
Acer has shot down rumours of a possible merger with Asus or Lenovo. The rumours originated in some Asian outlets, which claimed that certain investment banks planned to invite Lenovo or Asus to merge with Acer.
Acer said it was not contacted by any investment bank with such a proposal and that wouldn’t be interested anyway, reports Digitimes. It’s easy to see why such a rumour would take off. Acer is in trouble like most PC vendors, except Lenovo. Consolidation might be the next step for some vendors, but Acer insists it will soldier on alone.
The company says it reforming and that it’s confident its brand and business can weather the storm. However, recent sales figures indicate that both Acer and Asus suffered the biggest drop in PC sales this year compared to other PC outfits.
Acer is down, but it’s not out. It still builds some interesting PCs and its aggressively pursuing tablet and smartphone markets, although they are already saturated and as a result it is bound to face stiff competition in all emerging segments.