Tag: lenovo

Tablet shipments slow right down

cheap-tabletsThe tablet market appears to be overheating and according to IDC’s latest report global shipments slowed down in the second quarter. It appears that many consumers are waiting for new iPads and cheap Androids are not filling the gap.

IDC said unit sales dropped 9.7 percent to 45.1 million last quarter thanks to soft demand for iPads. Shipments of Apple’s tablets dropped to just 14.6 million units, down from 19.5 million in the first quarter. IDC’s original forecast was 17 million, but it appears consumers had other things in mind.

Despite the dip, Apple is still the daddy of the tablet market, with a 32.4 percent market share. For some reason Samsung managed to grab an 18-percent share, despite the fact that its tablets are overpriced and underspecced.

Thanks to its massive market share, Apple’s woes tend to have an immediate effect on overall unit sales. The trouble for Apple is that it simply does not have any fresh products to offer. The iPad and iPad mini are getting old and a refresh is expected over the next few of months. Consumers are simply putting off their purchases until Cupertino rolls out something new, i.e. a Retina iPad mini.

“A new iPad launch always piques consumer interest in the tablet category and traditionally that has helped both Apple and its competitors,” said Tom Mainelli, Research Director, Tablets at IDC. “With no new iPads, the market slowed for many vendors, and that’s likely to continue into the third quarter. However, by the fourth quarter we expect new products from Apple, Amazon, and others to drive impressive growth in the market.”

A long Apple drought seems to be just what the doctor ordered for makers of Android tablets, but they don’t appear to be capitalizing on iPad fatigue.

Asus shipped just 2 million units for a 4.5 percent share. Lenovo was in a close second with 1.5 million units and Acer is in hot pursuit with 1.4 million.

To be fair, Android peddlers also had their share of problems. New high-end designs based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 have yet to materialize, Nvidia’s Tegra 4 was delayed and the first products have started shipping just a few days ago, at the very end of the second quarter. The new Nexus 7 is out, but it also launched too late to make a mark in Q2.

However, IDC believes new tablets from both camps should have a massive effect on shipments toward the end of the year. As for Windows RT and Windows 8.x tablets, we’re not sure they’ll make much headway this year.

ODM laptop shipments rebound, up 0.4 percent

ancient-laptopWorldwide shipments of laptops in the second quarter reached 39.4 million units, up 0.4 percent over the first quarter, according to WitsView. It doesn’t sound like much, and it isn’t, but given the state of the PC market any hint of growth is an encouraging sign.

Although overall shipments are up, the nine leading laptop makers saw an 0.7 percent decline quarter-on-quarter, which was caused by inventory problems. New designs based on Intel Haswell chips are coming online and big brands are apparently not getting rid of Ivy Bridge models fast enough.

Hewlett Packard had a good quarter, shipping 7 million units, up 10 percent from Q1, while Lenovo shipped 6.3 million units and stayed relatively flat. Acer and Asus dropped 0.2 and 1 percent respectively, while Toshiba had a terrible quarter, ending with a 12.6 percent slump.

Researchers noted that the market started to slow down in June, as consumers held back on purchases and decided to wait for Haswell products. However, the Haswell rollout was hampered by inventory issues, as manufacturers could not liquidate their Ivy Bridge stock in time. It was basically a vicious circle.

WitsView reckons the market could start to recover in the second half of the year, due to seasonal trends. If all goes well, Q3 laptop shipments could grow seven to nine percent. Sales by second- and third-tier brands are also expected to go up.

Apple and Samsung lose smartphone market share

smartphones-genericApple’s iPhone juggernaut appears to be running out of steam. Although the company beat Wall Street expectations last quarter, with 31.2 million iPhones shipped, it also managed to lose market share.

Apple’s smartphone share now stands at 13.1 percent, down from 16.6 percent in the second quarter of 2012. Although Apple’s shipments were up from 26 million a year ago, the market grew at a somewhat faster pace. The same goes for Samsung, which shipped 72.4 million smartphones last quarter, up from 50.3 million last year. It share dropped from 32.2 percent to 30.4 percent.

Total smartphone shipments were up 52 percent, 237.9 million compared to 156.2 million units in Q2 2012. The market seems to be accelerating, maybe even overheating. However, although smartphone saturation in western markets is becoming an issue, particularly in the high-end, Asia appears to be doing quite well.

IDC-smartphone-chart-Q213

Chinese smartphone churners had a very good quarter. Lenovo upped its market share from 3.1 percent a year ago to 4.7 percent last quarter. Lenovo shipped 11.3 million smartphones last quarter, roughly a third of what Apple managed to ship – but most Lenovo phones were sold in China, hence the tech press didn’t really cover its success. ZTE also did well, with shipments hitting 10.1 million last quarter, up from 6.4 million a year ago. LG did surprisingly well, with 12.1 million units shipped, up from just 5.8 million a year ago.

However, saturation is becoming a big source of concern for smartphone makers. Most future growth  is expected to come from emerging markets, which tend to prefer low cost devices. This will result in lower ASPs, more competition and lower margins. It will also open the room for smaller brands and dozens of Chinese no-name smartphone makers.

IDC’s figures also reveal that the combined share commanded by smaller brands is up and that smartphone shipments have finally outpaced feature phone shipments. Few consumers who haven’t transitioned to smartphones over the last few years will pick up a high-end device, leaving even more room for cheap smartphones.

The trend has not gone unnoticed by smartphone makers. Apple is reportedly working on a cheaper, plastic version of the iPhone. Since Apple doesn’t have much to offer outside the high-end market, it is particularly vulnerable. Samsung and HTC are talking up their new minis as if they were flagship products, Google Motorola’s new Moto X is a mid-range device, not a pricey superphone.

In recent years the focus was on pricey high-end phones, with most sales coming from affluent markets, backed by carrier sweetheart deals. This created a rather absurd situation, as unit sales of high-end phones were often much higher than those of their mid-range and low-end siblings. As emerging markets enter the fray, this odd trend appears to be over.

All-in-one PC shipments to see strong growth

dell-aioAlthough the PC industry has fallen on hard times, there are some notable exceptions and the market for all-in-one (AIO) PCs is one of them. Shipments of AIOs are expected to grow by 17.3 percent year-on-year.

All-in-ones are hardly a new concept, they have been around for years and Apple has already made a killing with the stylish and pricey iMac series.

However, in recent years PC vendors have also joined the market, with mixed results. Apple’s iMac still leads the way, but other brands should see 4.9 percent growth, according to Digitimes Research.

Although it is doing well in just about every other market segment, Lenovo is expected to experience a small drop in shipments. HP will see a bit of growth, but Dell and Sony should see strong gains. Interestingly, all big players are expected to increase their market share, which means they are pushing small vendors out of the market. This is not surprising, as AIOs tend to be quite a bit more difficult to design and produce than regular PC boxes, hence big brands with plenty of resources are at an advantage.

Quanta and Wistron should remain the leading manufacturers of AIOs, with shipments of seven and three million units respectively. Pegatorn and TPV Inventa should ship upwards of two million units each.

The numbers reveal that the market is still relatively small, but it seems to have a lot of potential. AIOs boast a number of advantages over regular PCs. Most of them use mobile chips and drives, which means they are a lot more efficient than traditional PCs. They also take up a lot less room and since they don’t have a bundle of dusty cables sticking out of them, they tend to look sleek and modern. Lower electric bills and less real estate taken up by ugly hardware are the most obvious selling point.

There are a few downsides though. Mobile components cost a bit more than the usual desktop bits and pieces, which means AIOs tend to have a lot higher bill of material. They are harder to service and  many components cannot be upgraded at all. However, the PC is already very mature so frequent upgrades are slowly becoming a thing of the past. Over the past decade millions of users migrated from desktops to notebooks, so they should be used to a lack of upgradeability by now.

Besides, vendors don’t mind planned obsolescence – they thrive on it. On the other hand, if AIOs really take off, they could have an impact on a number of component makers, ranging from AIBs to peddlers of various peripherals and monitors.

EMEA PC sales slump by 22 percent

pc-sales-slumpPC shipments in Europe are down again. New figures fresh out of the International Data Corporation (IDC) show that second-quarter PC shipments in the EMEA region were down 22.2 percent compared to the same quarter last year. 

EMEA PC shipments last quarter reached 19.6 million units and portable PCs got the worst of it, with a 26-percent drop and shipments of 12.4 million units. Desktops fared a bit better, with shipments of 7.2 million units, down 14.6 percent. 

In Western Europe shipments declined by 21.2% year-on-year. Britain did rather well, all things considered, as it was down just 14%. Germany slowed down 18.7%, while France remained the softest with a 20.9% drop. 

However, let’s not forget about Southern Europe – PC shipments in Spain dropped 43.7 percent and with no end to Spain’s economic woes in sight, the trend is likely to continue. Central Europe was down 27 percent, while the Middle East and Africa slumped 18 percent. Although Middle Eastern economies and Turkey are doing rather well, political instability and economic uncertainty are taking their toll. 

“The evolution of form factors and the change in perception of mobile computing to ‘always on and always connected’ devices, development of social networks and Internet infrastructure, are all changing consumer behaviour impacting the way PCs are utilized,” said Maciej Gornicki, senior research analyst, IDC EMEA Personal Computing. “While Windows-based hybrid devices, convertible or ultraslim notebooks with touch capabilities generate a clear interest, sales remain weak.”

Gornicki noted that one of the main inhibitors to growth in new form factors remains price, but IDC expects prices to tumble in time for the holiday season and sales of ultraslim notebooks should pick up in the fourth quarter and beyond. 

It is also worth noting that notebook sales figures include mini notebooks, or netbooks, which are dying out. Meanwhile desktop sales don’t appear to be slowing down at the same rate as portable PC sales, as they can’t be cannibalized by tablets. Besides, desktops are a staple for small businesses and corporate users who can’t always hold off purchases like consumers.

Although the decline was significant, some vendors still managed to stay in the black. Lenovo’s shipments grew 19 percent year-on-year, making it the only big brand to see any growth. Lenovo ranked second, with 2.62 million PCs shipped. HP is still the EMEA market leader with shipments of 3.72 million units, but unlike Lenovo its shipments were down 23.2 percent compared to a year ago. As a result there was no big change in HP’s market share, which currently stands at 19 percent, down from 19.2 percent. However, Lenovo’s share increased from 8.7 percent in Q2 2012 to 13.4 percent last quarter. 

Acer ranked third with 2.26 million units, but it also suffered a massive 42.2 percent drop in shipments and saw its market share tumble from 15.5 percent to 11.5 percent. Dell’s shipments dropped 9 percent, but it actually managed to grow its market share to 10.7 percent, up from 9.1 last year. Asus also suffered a slump, with 1.69 million shipped boxes, down 38.5 percent.

Notebook shipments hit new low

ancient-laptopContract manufacturers of notebooks had one of their worst quarters on record in Q1. According to IHS, they suffered a worse than expected quarter, with shipments to Apple and HP tumbling to the lowest level in three years.

Global shipments from ODMs in the first quarter totalled 33.2 million units, down 17 percent from 40.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2012.

The downturn was four to five percentage points than what IHS had originally forecast, prompting more concerns about the beleaguered industry. Taiwan based ODMs build notebooks for Apple, HP, Dell, Samsung, Lenovo, Acer, Asus and Toshiba.

The knock on effect hit ODMs hard. Quanta got the worst of it, with a 27 percent plunge in shipments. It lost its spot as the world’s top ODM to Compal as a result. Furthermore, Quanta apparently received “conservative” orders from Acer, Asus, HP and Apple during the quarter. Compal saw a quarterly decline of 5 to 7 percent and it weathered the storm a bit better than other ODMs, thanks to stable shipments to Dell and Lenovo.

Wistron’s drop in shipments was 16 percent, but it still managed to rank third. Inventec saw a 9-percent drop and it ended in fourth spot, while Pegatron wasn’t as lucky. It saw its shipments plummet 21 percent, finishing the quarter in fifth spot.

There’s light at the end of the tunnel, though. ODM shipments are expected to improve in the second half of the year. The key drivers of growth will be cheap ultrathin PCs with touchscreens, along with new models based on Intel Haswell parts. In addition, Microsoft will lower the licencee fee for Windows for notebooks with a screen size of up to 11.6 inches, as we reported from Computex a few weeks back. Better late than never.

Analysts call on Acer to rethink its strategy

acer-logo-ceLast week Acer held its annual shareholder bash in Taiwan, which was marked by a strange mix of optimism and admissions that the company was unprepared for the boom in tablets. Acer chairman Wang Jeng-tang issued an apology to shareholders, as he failed to boost the company’s shares, but he reiterated Acer’s commitment to the traditional PC market.

Lenovo rebrands storage gear

lenovo_hqLenovo and EMC recently cuddled up in a joint venture and the first LenovoEMC branded products are already hitting the market. However, as a side effect Lenovo is also rebranding some of its other storage products.

The Iomega brand seems destined for the bargain bin. It appears that it will be used solely for low-end storage solutions. The good stuff will feature the LenovoEMC brand.

“Effective immediately, the former Iomega-branded network storage products are available worldwide with new branding that reflects the LenovoEMC business while continuing to utilize the Iomega mark on entry-level consumer network storage products,” Lenovo said.

Lenovo’s high performance StorCenter px series is now the LenovoEMC px series, while the EZ Media series storage solutions and NAS gear will retain Iomega branding.

“With the transition from the highly successful stand alone Iomega brand to the power of the combined Lenovo and EMC brands, our Lenovo network storage solutions from the LenovoEMC joint venture will continue to evolve in features and capabilities as world class network storage that complements server products from the Lenovo Enterprise Product Group. This is an important element in Lenovo’s continued growth in the PC Plus world,” said Roy Guillen, vice president, Enterprise Product Group, Lenovo.

LenovoEMC today also announced an agreement with Acronis to provide True Image 2013 Lite PC backup software with all Lenovo EMC network storage products. The Lenovo EMC px series include three licenses for ATI Lite per product and Acronis will offer special pricing for additional upgrades and licences.

European PC market continues downward spiral

pc-sales-slumpThe global PC market contracted 13.9 percent in the first quarter of 2013 and Europe seems to have taken the worst hit. Sales of PCs in Western Europe fell off a cliff in the first three months of the year and they are down 20.5 percent year-on-year. Big brands like Acer and HP did even worse, experiencing a drop in excess of 30 percent. 

Lenovo rumoured to buy IBM’s x86 biz

ibm-officeJust as Lenovo started climbing the ladder to become a top PC seller when it picked up IBM’s PC business, it is now rumoured to be in early discussion about buying Big Blue’s x86 server business.

Both the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg have reported rumours that the Chinese PC seller  is interested in IBM’s server unit, which isn’t making as much cash in revenues as the latter would like. With IBM’s results taking a bit of a kicking, a deal between the two could be just weeks away, and worth up to an estimated $4.5 billion.

Lenovo conceded that it is in early stages of discussions with a third party about a potential acquisition. Meanwhile, an unnamed executive deepthroat told CRN that Lenovo is the only company in the running to buy IBM’s x86 business.

The move could be seen as the first major play by recently appointed CEO Virginia Rometty – looking to shed excess weight from the company’s portfolio and focusing on other higher revenue areas.

Lenovo, for its part, would be undertaking a serious diversifying of its portfolio by picking up the server unit – pushing into the enterprise beyond its traditional role as a PC shifter. While it has managed to weather the storm of the global recession and keep PC sales relatively reasonable, the company may be looking to build on other, more consistent revenue streams – a hefty buy from IBM would not look amiss next to the company’s server and network storage work that began with an EMC collaboration in mid 2012.

Lenovo to sell servers and storage

lenovo-logoLenovo, the world’s second largest PC maker, is planning to revamp its business strategy and refocus on its server and storage business over the next three years.

The PC slump has been hurting Lenovo, Dell and Hewlett Packard for several quarters and all traditional PC markers are now trying to reinvent themselves.

Dell wants to go private, HP is waiting for inkjet printers to make a comeback, while Lenovo seems keen focus on everything other than PCs.

Although its latest announcement indicates that Lenovo will make a serious enterprise server and storage push, it should be noted that the company is also betting big on smartphones and tablets. However, we don’t get to see that many of them in Europe, but Lenovo’s mobile gear is doing incredibly well in parts of Asia. In fact, Lenovo’s smartphone business accounts for about 20 per cent of the company’s revenue in mainland China, reports China Daily.

“We are looking for future profit generators, and the enterprise-level server and storage markets will surely fill that need,” said Chen Xudong, senior vice-president and general manager of Lenovo China. However, Chen stopped short of outlining Lenovo’s expectations for its server and storage gear.

The storage strategy seems off to a good start. On Tuesday Lenovo and EMC released their first co-branded server and storage products. The two outfits formed a joint venture last year to shift server and storage gear. It is hoped that the EMC alliance will help Lenovo fend off challenges from ZTE and Huawei in the Chinese market.

Acer to slowly revamp product line, focus on tablets

acer-logo-ceAcer is apparently planning to revamp its product line in an effort to revive sales and growth momentum.

Last week Acer announced that it will increase R&D spending to between 1.2 and 1.5 percent of annual sales this year. Acer apparently wants to invest more in order to stay competitive in the tablet market, while at the same time improving its notebook line. Acer hopes to sell between 5 and 10 million tablets this year.

Analysts, however, see trouble ahead. Deutsche Bank analyst Ivy Lee said Acer might encounter new challenges that might cause its sales to remain flat, reports Taipei Times. Windows 8 is apparently the biggest risk, since there is still not enough consumer feedback on Windows 8 tablets and notebooks.

Acer recently killed off a couple of its value brands, after it experienced a huge inventory loss in late 2011. Like other leading PC makers, Acer is experiencing a lot of margin erosion and falling market share.

Citigroup Global Markets analyst Kevin Chang believes Acer will continue to struggle in the near future. In a recent note he argued that Acer’s current strategy is simply not working and that it has to be more aggressive on pricing.

As the PC slump drags on, Lenovo, Asustek, Dell and HP will try to hold their ground and fierce price competition is to be expected. As for tablets, Asus and Lenovo have done a bit better than other major PC players. Lenovo did particularly well in China in the last two quarters, while Asus has managed to make quite a name for itself in the Android tablet space with the Transformer series. It also builds Google’s Nexus 7 tablet.

Apple tops US PC satisfaction list

dellsigA survey of 10,000 US consumers has pointed to Apple and HP taking the top end of the satisfaction ratings for the computing segment in a Temkin Experience study. At the bottom of the rankings were Sony and Lenovo.

The survey looked at three areas of customer satisfaction, that is, functionality, accessibility, and the emotional reaction to the use of their product across different industries, including with computing.

Acer, Apple, Compaq, Dell, eMachines, Gateway, HP, Lenovo, Sony, and Toshiba were included. According to the survey, personal computers have been making steady gains in customer satisfaction – the average experience rating has increased to 60 percent for this year, up six percent from 54 percent in 2011.

Apple’s enormous popularity in the States put it on top for computing, reaching 134th place of any brand across every industry at 64 percent customer satisfaction. That is slightly below its 2012 rating at one percent less, however, it pipped other computer makers to the spot with top feedback for the accessibility and emotional categories. HP was second, beating Apple in functionality, and scoring 62 percent overall.

Of the PC brands, Dell scored the biggest improvement from 2012 with an increase in six percentage points. Sony and Lenovo however were the lowest ranked PC brands, both scoring 54 percent – not dismal, but showing significant declines for the segment. Sony scored poorly on functionality and accessibility, while Lenovo users were just not that attached to their machines with a low rating for the emotional category. Overall, ratings for PCs were 13th out of the 19 included industries.

The full ratings can be found at Temkin’s website, here.

 

Monitor market in decline

50scrtThe stagnating and eventually declining demand for the traditional PC desktop has had an inevitable knock-on effect in the monitor industry, with the latest report from analyst house IDC lowering its Q4 2012 estimate from 37.9 million to 36.3 million units.

IDC also lowered total shipment forecasts for 2013 from 142.8 million to 140.1 million units, or a six percent yearly decline. The grim forecast will not be getting any better, with expectations that by 2017 shipments will drop to 122.2 million units.

As with the desktop itself, the booming mobile computing trend is essentially killing off demand for the monitor. IDC pointed to “consumer confusion” about Windows 8 paired with the wider economic situation as pretty solid reasons why people aren’t buying, which means decreased demand going into 2013.

Average selling prices, too, are likely to decline by as much as 1.5 percent per year going through to 2017. Those that are interested in buying will be glad to hear that overcrowded competition will mean companies lowering prices as they try to win custom. Price per inch could decline from $8.35 in 2012 to $7.46 in 2017, which should continue because of what IDC calls the natural migration of users to larger screen sizes. In 2012, the mean screen size was 20.4″, but this should grow to 21.4″ by 2017.

Vendors can boost their margins by looking towards innovation and building consumer value with lower cost monitors. IDC cites Samsung’s PLS technology as an attractive way to seduce custom.

IDC’s senior research analyst, Linn Huang, said that failure to drive innovation in the market will “likely result in the long-term tradeoff of profit margin for volume retention”.

Of the vendors still in the game, Samsung is ahead with 15 percent of the market share. Dell followed with 12.7 percent, and HP, Lenovo, and LG had 10.8 percent, 9.7 percent and 9.6 percent, respectively.