Tag: PC slump

Gartner sees more gloom in PC market

pc-sales-slumpShipments of smartphones and tablets are skyrocketing, while PC shipments are going off a cliff – that pretty much sums up every single market research report over the last couple of years. Gartner’s latest report is just more of the same.

Big G estimates tablet shipments will grow 53.4 percent this year, hitting 184 million units. At the same time, shipments of PCs will be down 11.2 percent compared to 2012. It’s no surprise, but it’s worse than what Gartner forecasted back in April, when it said PC sales would decline 7.3 percent.

The trouble for PC churners is that old form factors are dying, but at the same time new form factors such as hybrids and ultrathins aren’t growing fast enough to balance things out. Even when shipments of ultraportables like Windows 8 tablets are thrown into the mix, the decline is still 8.4 percent. However, Gartner still believes new form factors will help in the long run. Shipments of traditional desktops and laptops are expected to total 303 million units this year.

Tablets are evolving as well and new form factors are emerging. In the high-end we’re seeing more elaborate designs with proper mechanical keyboards, although OS constraints are limiting their success. At the bottom, shoppers are picking up cheap 7-inch tablets like the Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire series. Even cheaper devices are available. Last year was all about the $199 price point introduced by the Nexus 7, while this year is shaping up to be the year of the $99 white-box tablet.

Tablets aren’t just hurting PC sales, cheap and cheerful tablets are also expected to cannibalize holiday smartphone sales. Smartphone penetration is already relatively high and western markets are still in love with pricey high-end devices, so a cheap tablet seems like a good holiday gift idea.

The most impressive figure in the report is the combined shipments estimate. The world will gobble up a staggering 2.32 billion phones, tablets and PCs this year.

LCD monitor shipments slow right down

pc-sales-slumpShipments of LCD monitors hit 71.1 million units in the first half of the year, down 5.45 percent year-on-year. What’s more, the decline is expected to continue in the second half of 2013.

With a double-digit drop in PC shipments earlier this year, soft demand for monitors comes as no surprise. The market is hungry for mobile devices, there is plenty of demand for high resolution tablet screens, but not so much for traditional desktop monitors.

TPV still leads the market with a 35 percent share. Samsung ranks second at 12.7 percent, Qista came in third with 9.8 percent, while LG and Foxconn grabbed 9.6 and 7.6 percent respectively.

One way of getting around the slump is to focus on larger monitors and more value added products, reckons Digitimes. However, it is not very easy to come up with groundbreaking features in this market segment. Nobody will queue in front of a Regent Street shop for three days to buy a new monitor.

There is some progress though. Some vendors have started rolling out wider form factors, which should be popular among gamers. Curved screens are also around, but they are more of a gimmick at this point. UHD or 4K gear remains prohibitively expensive and it will be a few years before it goes mainstream.

Notebook display panel shipments down, down, down

dell-latitude-7000-330pxShipments of LCD panels for notebooks dropped 23 percent in July year-on-year, according to new data from IHS. Eight out of the nine leading PC vendors cut their LCD shipments and total shipments were just 1.49 million units, down from 19.3 million in July 2012. Worse, shipments were down 18 percent sequentially.

The sharp drop can be in part attributed to seasonal trends, but there were a few other factors as well. Demand for new Haswell-based deigns remains soft and the fact that many people are still waiting for Windows 8.1 did not help, either. All this resulted in some inventory problems.

“Notebook brands during the third quarter typically increase their purchases of LCD panels as they prepare to launch new mobile PC models for the second half of the year,” said Ricky Park, senior manager for large-area displays at IHS. “However, many key brands this year have accumulated large panel inventory surpluses because of weak sales in the first half. This has caused them to reduce purchases in July, leading to major declines in notebook PC panel market shipments both on a sequential and an annual basis.”

Many notebook makers are still sitting on heaps of old displays and they are clearly having a hard time getting rid of them. Acer’s panel orders dropped 53 percent in June, Toshiba was down 43 percent and even mighty Lenovo experienced a 35 percent drop. It did not get any better in July.

IHS expects to see some positive figures in August, as the market should return to sequential growth, but on-year figures won’t look good.

PC market to go from bad to worse

pc-sales-slumpAs if there was not enough bad news on the PC front, IDC has updated its forecast for 2013 and it now estimates PC shipments will fall 9.7 percent this year. Back in May IDC said PC sales would drop 7.8 percent, but in the meantime things have gotten a lot worse it seems. PC shipments dropped 4 percent in 2012, so the cumulative decline will be even worse.

So what happened over the last three or so months that made IDC slash another two percent from its forecast?

It wasn’t the poor showing of Haswell notebooks, or the complete absence of hybrids and other half baked attempts to salvage the market. It was China, along with other emerging markets. IDC says consumer interest remains “stubbornly depressed” but the main reason is still soft demand in emerging markets. Not that long ago, analysts were expecting emerging markets to save PC’s bacon, but now it seems they were wrong. IDC now expects a double-digit decrease in China and many other markets in the region will follow suit. India on the other hand is doing just fine, but India alone isn’t enough to reverse the trend.

Meanwhile channel sources are reporting stagnant inventory and plenty of demand for tablets and smartphones. As a result, leading emerging markets are expected to stay in the red next year. The market as a whole is expected to decline through 2014, but eventually it will recover in 2015 and see some modest growth. IDC says the industry will never return to peak volumes seen in 2011. Worldwide PC sales in 2012 totalled 349 million and they’ll be down to 315 million this year and they’ll “recover” to 319.8 million in 2017, which sounds encouraging until you factor in population growth.

“The days where one can assume tablet disruptions are purely a First World problem are over,” said Jay Chou, Senior Research Analyst, Worldwide Quarterly PC Trackers at IDC. “Advances in PC hardware, such as improvements in the power efficiency of x86 processors remain encouraging, and Windows 8.1 is also expected to address a number of well-documented concerns. However, the current PC usage experience falls short of meeting changing usage patterns that are spreading through all regions, especially as tablet price and performance become ever more attractive.”

Worse, the post-2014 recovery will be slow and it will be driven in part by the need to refresh existing systems, which already have much longer lifecycles than a few years ago. Things will start to pick up as businesses start upgrading their old XP boxes, while entry level ultraslims and cheap convertibles are expected to do well on the more consumerish side of things.

While this sounds encouraging, it should be noted that all three categories tipped for success aren’t big money makers. Businesses upgrading ancient XP machines won’t go for anything expensive, entry level hybrids and ultraslims will be very cheap as well, which is not good news for ASPs. What’s more, hybrids and ultraslims have to compete with even cheaper tablets to some extent, so tight margins will be the norm. Needless to say, vendors aren’t exactly thrilled by the prospect of having to build, market and service tons of cheap hybrids only to make peanuts at the end of the day.

IDC sees gloom in tablet market

cheap-tabletsThe PC market has been coughing up phlegm for quite a while and for the last couple of years we’ve been told that tablet would wreck the PC market. This of course was rubbish, since tablets can only complement PCs, not replace them, and the real reasons behind the PC slump are a bit more complex.

Research from IDC has revealed that the tablet market is cooling down. The research firm cut its unit shipment forecast from 229.3 million units to 227.4 million units, which doesn’t sound like much, but it is a telltale sign that many got carried away in the tablet craze. However, although growth is slowing, tablet shipments this year will still be 57.7 percent above 2012 shipments. By 2017 IDC expects shipments to hit the 407 million mark. Mature markets are expected to cede market share to emerging markets over the next few years, namely the Asia Pacific region.

While mature markets such as North America and Western Europe have driven much of the tablet market’s growth to date, IDC expects shipment growth to begin to slow in these markets. The main culprits are market saturation, increased adoption of phablets and the eventual growth of wearable tech, which has yet to enter the fray.

“A lower than anticipated second quarter, hampered by a lack of major product announcements, means the second half of the year now becomes even more critical for a tablet market that has traditionally seen its highest shipment volume occur during the holiday season,” said Tom Mainelli, Research Director, Tablets. “We expect average selling prices to continue to compress as more mainstream vendors utilize low-cost components to better compete with the whitebox tablet vendors that continue to enjoy widespread traction in the market despite typically offering lower-quality products and poorer customer experiences.”

IDC research reveals another interesting trend, the rise of tablets in the commercial segment. Education projects have a lot to do with it, along with adoption in vertical markets such as retail. This segment will slowly double from 10 percent in 2012 to 20 percent in 2017. This might indicate that vendors will be forced to get creative and design more specialized tablets for businesses and schools.

PC slump may actually benefit AMD in long run

AMD, SunnyvaleIt is often said that a crisis is merely an opportunity in disguise. It is often said but it’s rarely true. However, the steep drop in PC shipments could in fact be good news for AMD.

Ten years ago AMD taught Intel a costly lesson in the high end, forcing Intel to regain its footing and invest heavily in R&D and manufacturing. As a result Intel squeezed AMD out of the high-end consumer CPU market, relegating it to the mid range and low end.

AMD wasted its opportunity, but eventually it picked up ATI a couple of years after its CPU design peaked. Things looked bright for a moment, just before they went terribly wrong. AMD suffered from poor execution and its high end chips just weren’t good enough to keep up with Intel. The K8 glory days are long gone and AMD is now a different company, it is fabless, but it also has plenty of IP, competitive graphics and very interesting APU and x86 SoC designs.

So how could the weak PC market benefit AMD, especially now that mobile chips are the new black, and AMD hasn’t got any?

Long upgrade cycles are one indicator that the era of “good enough” computing is already here. The average PC is more than four years old, few people need costly high end processors and attention is shifting to low end and mid range silicon. This is what AMD is becoming good at. Its new Jaguar based APUs are brilliant and they are superior to Intel’s current generation of Atoms. Richland based APUs aren’t as competitive, but they offer relatively good value for money and they are making inroads in the ULV market as well. The bad news is that AMD is still suffering from execution problems. Kaveri was supposed to replace Richland later this year, but it has been pushed back to early 2014, along with desktop Jaguar-based Kabini parts. AMD’s propensity for delays makes any forecast extremely difficult.

With very little need for Intel’s high-end x86 chips in the consumer market, gamers and professionals aren’t enough. This is an obvious opportunity for AMD and CEO Rory Read seems to get it. That might explain why AMD is focusing its efforts elsewhere. APUs are just part of the story, they were the logical next step in CPU evolution. AMD’s next big thing is custom chip design. The Xbox One and PS4 are based on Jaguar, with AMD graphics in tow. Now for some geeky figures.

Most people associate Jaguar with cheap and small APUs, but custom console SoCs are neither. Built using TSMC’s 28nm process, the SoC used in the Xbox One actually features eight Jaguar CPU cores, coupled with powerful graphics and plenty of SRAM embedded on the die. They pack around 5 billion transistors, while Intel’s mid-range Haswells are said to feature between 1.4 billion and 1.2 billion, depending on the SKU.

AMD hasn’t forgotten how to do huge, immensely complex chips – it’s just not doing big x86 cores anymore. Its high-end GPUs also have upwards of 4 billion transistors. What’s more, AMD can apply the same custom approach to server parts and it’s also working on ARM based server chips as well. This flexible, modular approach sounds very interesting indeed, but it’s still too early to say whether AMD will put it to good use in server chips, so to speak,  whether it will manage to find enough customers for custom parts, as the orders have to be relatively big to justify the expense of developing and producing such chips.

As far as AMD’s graphics business goes, it is doing rather well at the moment. Time and again AMD has proven that it can go toe to toe with Nvidia and win a few rounds. We’ve been looking at a virtual stalemate for the past five years. This year AMD managed to increase its GPU market share, despite the fact that Nvidia won nearly all Haswell notebook design wins. The trouble for Nvidia is that notebook graphics are a dying market. In the consumer space AMD is doing well, while Nvidia still maintains a big lead in high-margin professional graphics. The recent console wins should also help AMD’s consumer GPU business, as developers should find it easier to optimise their games for AMD’s architecture on three different platforms.

The big question is mobile. A couple of months ago Nvidia announced that it would license its Kepler GPU and future GPU IP to third-party ARM SoC builders. AMD has not made the same commitment, but some AMD graphics tech is already used in mobile chips, in the form of Qualcomm’s Adreno graphics. The ARM SoC business will continue to grow and we are bound to see more consolidation. Nvidia has a small presence in the ARM SoC market and if it is willing to license its technology to its own competitors, AMD could and should enter the market as well. It is worth noting that Adreno is running out of steam, as it is based on old AMD/ATI tech. We’re not sure it would make financial sense for Qualcomm to continue development in-house, it might reach out to AMD instead. There is very little overlap between Qualcomm and AMD at the moment, and such a marriage of convenience would make perfect sense. If that happens, AMD could end up with a huge market share in ARM SoC graphics, trumping Nvidia, ARM and Imagination.

AMD is still in a world of trouble, but looking ahead it might actually be in a better position to weather the storm than Intel, at least in the consumer space. High end chips and server parts are still Intel’s turf, although AMD could score some custom server wins in the future. Intel is pushing mobile now and it has a good chance of penetrating the market a couple of years from now, but in reality if AMD starts licensing GPU IP to the likes of Qualcomm, it could make heaps of cash in mobile, with a lot less investment and risk than Intel.

SMBs still love PCs

dell-aioSales of tablets are skyrocketing and many punters claim they are cannibalising PC sales, which is true to some extent. Tablets are excellent gadgets for media stuff, but in many settings they simply can’t replace the traditional PC.

According to research firm Techaisle, SMBs are still buying plenty of PCs and tablets can’t tap this market. So the firm believes rumours of PC’s death are greatly exaggerated.

“Those who predict that the PC is dead are not seeing the picture correctly,” Techaisle analyst Anurag Agrawal told Information Week. “They are probably getting carried away by the current wave of tablet adoption.”

Agrawal does not dispute the fact that some people are buying tablets instead of PCs, but this is not a one-for-one replacement. Small and medium size businesses simply can’t replace PCs with tablets.

Techaisle found that 68 percent of American SMBs bought tablets to fill new or complementary functions. Only 16 percent of them bought tablets to replace traditional laptops.

Most tablets in SMBs are used as complementary devices and 70 percent of British SMBs say tablets won’t replace their PCs.

Tablets can be a valuable asset for SMBs, especially in some industries, but PCs will continue to dominate the SMB IT landscape. Tablets are more likely to replace credit card readers and POS systems than PCs.

The real problem for PC vendors is that SMBs and just about everyone else don’t really have much of an incentive to upgrade. PCs last a lot longer than they used to just a few years ago, so many companies buy new PCs only when they have to, that is, when they die.

“There are no compelling reasons based on technology advancements alone for a business to buy a new PC or replace an older one,” Agrawal said. “However, businesses are still buying PCs as per their needs.”

Maturity appears to be killing the PC market, not tablets.

Intel talks up the PC market

Intel-logoIntel is in the middle of a leadership change  and on top of that it is facing headwinds coming from all directions. The chipmaker finally seems to be getting it, at least if statements from CEO Brian Krzanich and President Renee James are anything to go by, and they are.

However, although the new Intel is all about Atom and hybrids, the company is still trying to put a positive spin on dismal PC sales. Intel commissioned an IDC survey of 3,997 US adults which apparently found that the PC is still alive and well. We beg to differ.

The survey found that 97 percent of respondents still believe their PCs are their primary computing devices, not smartphones or tablets. They consider access to their PC essential and 73 percent said they would rather go without exercise than without their PC. Geeks aren’t into exercise, but they are into candy and sweets, yet 71 percent said they would rather ditch their sugary treats than their PCs. Another 65 percent said the same about caffeine, 58 percent would rather ditch their TV, while 33 percent would rather spend a few days without their car than without their PC. The average time spent on computing devices was 43 hours a week and half of that was spent in front of a PC.

However, these figures don’t matter nearly as much as the next one – the average PC is four years old. Just a few years ago this would mean that the average PC is ripe for an upgrade, but this is no longer the case. The upgrade cycle has slowed down and average users have little to gain from getting a new PC. Professionals and gamers are a different breed, but the bulk of PC purchases comes from mainstream users.

Over the last decade or so the PC has become so mature that it is practically treated like any other household appliance. People get a new one only when the old one breaks. Nobody buys a new microwave because Samsung launched a new one, with a colour touchscreen. The same is slowly becoming true of PCs.

On a more positive note, the PC is still practically the only platform for productivity. Tablets and smartphones can’t replace it and they can’t even come close, at least not in the foreseeable future. As a result, 83 percent of respondents to the IDC survey said they are more productive on their PCs than on smartphones or tablets. As for the remaining 17 percent, we’re not sure they know what “productive” means.

IDC expects further IT spending slowdown

pc-sales-slumpIDC has taken a second look into its crystal ball and revised its earlier forecast for worldwide IT spending. Of course, the new numbers are lower.

In May IDC forecast 4.9 percent growth, but now it expects 4.6 percent. What’s more, if tablets and smartphones are taken out of the equation, spending will be up just 1.7 percent. IDC’s May forecast was 2.6 percent.

IDC cites a slowdown in economic growth in emerging markets as the main reason behind its decision to lower forecasts. Growth is slowing down in China and Asia Pacific. Europe is not even worth mentioning. However, it’s not all bad news. IT spending in the US is now expected to increase 4.6 percent this year, up from 4.2 percent forecasted in May.

There’s some good news for mobile outfits, too. IDC expects spending on tablets to be up 39 percent this year, up from a May forecast of 32.5 percent. Smartphone projections are also up, 18.5 percent over 17.2 percent in May.

Unsurprisingly there is nothing good to report on the PC front. PC sales worldwide are now expected to decline 7.2 percent this year. The May forecast was just 2.6 percent in the red. That’s a huge revision in the space of less than three months and the PC market is clearly in worse shape than analysts thought.

Pricey PCs kill any hint of recovery

pc-sales-slumpPC shipments have been slow for months and they should start bottoming out soon, but the PC cause is being undermined by pricey laptops, analysts believe. A new breed of high-end designs based on Haswell parts is shipping, but their prices seem out of touch with reality. 

Buyers just don’t want to pay the premium for new chips, touchscreens or new form factors – and that premium can be quite steep. Most new Haswell laptops and ultrabooks cost a lot more than the average budget laptop and quite a few of them are priced north of £1,000.

“The thought that you can sell a $1,400 notebook is ridiculous. The mess is partly credited to Windows 8,” said Roger Kay, president and principal analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates, reports IDG News Service. “In their bones they don’t get it. They refuse to deal with the reality of what’s going on.”

Mikako Kitagawa, research analyst at Gartner, believes laptop prices have stabilized and may even creep up. PC vendors are trying to position laptops as premium products compared to tablets, which means they are more likely to focus on high-end and mid-range models, with higher margins.
This may leave more room for cheaper brands, who could focus on entry level laptops, but then again such laptops are experiencing high cannibalization rates from tablets, so the trend is a mixed bag at best. Still, someone always finds a way to make the most of a crisis and we reckon Chromebook makers could do well in such a climate.

However, things aren’t that great in the high-end, either. Now that most people are used to dirt cheap laptops and equally cheap tablets, convincing them to pay more for “premium” models won’t be easy.

Other than prestige or brand snobbery, it’s really hard to make a convincing case for high-end laptops right now. There will be no shortage of executives willing to pay £1,000 or more for a stylish piece of kit, or enthusiasts who go for even pricier, boutique offerings. However, most users will probably be better off buying a budget model for £500 and spending the rest on a tablet, or a vacant apartment complex in Spain.

PC gaming hardware bucks negative trend

gamer-sexAlthough the PC market is going through a rough patch, sales of gaming hardware seem to be weathering the storm quite well. Hardcore gamers are enthusiasts, they can’t trade in their beloved desktops for laptops, let alone tablets. Even console gaming is frowned upon in many circles.

As a result, gamers are continuing to spend and upgrade their high-end PCs. Jon Peddie Research found that sales of gaming hardware will continue to grow and at a CAGR of 3 percent over the next three years. Sales slumped this year and they are expected to hit $18.3 billion. By 2016, however, JPR reckons they will reach $20.7 billion.

Jon Peddie, President of JPR said “Not only is gaming becoming an even more important purchasing influence of PC sales due to the offloading of more basic functionality to smart devices, but we are forecasting growth in the most expensive discrete graphics products. We are also impressed with the embedded graphics offerings this generation and going forward.”

Analyst Ted Pollak also pointed out that many new games are placing increasing demands on the CPU, hence swapping out the graphics card doesn’t do the trick anymore – gamers have to upgrade their CPUs as well. In many cases this means they have to replace the motherboard as well, while investments in additional components such as faster memory and power supply units are not uncommon in such scenarios.

JPR believes that traditional PCs have an advantage in casual gaming as x86 tablets expand the market, and new powerful CPUs with built-in graphics have opened the door to the living room. Nothing can surpass PCs at this point in time because they can run ultra high resolution graphics better than any other platform. Sadly though, 4K or UHD monitors and TVs are still years away from going mainstream, as they could generate even more demand for high-end GPUs and CPUs.

However, although JPR’s forecast is good news for many vendors, we have some long-term concerns.

PC gaming doesn’t come cheap and with record youth unemployment and very little in the way of disposable income, high-end gaming PCs are simply out of reach for many potential buyers. AAA titles don’t come cheap, either. Furthermore most gamers grew up with PCs and they developed a love for tinkering and hardware at a very young age. Now that most kids’ first contact with computers comes in the form of tablets, smartphones and consoles, it will be increasingly difficult to recruit new PC gamers.

In addition, the pace of hardware development in the PC industry is slowing. While we see twofold performance improvements with each generation of ARM-based SoCs, big GPUs and CPUs used in high-end PCs simply can’t deliver such boosts and the performance difference between subsequent generations is narrowing. This trend is here to stay, due to technical limitations, but development of ARM chips is also likely to slow down, as they hit the thermal barrier. Cloud gaming and streaming are also potential threats. A few years down the road gamers might be leasing processing power and streaming games to any screen they want, which would be very bad news for some vendors. Luckily, that won’t happen anytime soon.

European PC market falls 20 percent in Q2

pc-sales-slumpThe European PC market may be about to bottom out, but before it does several vendors will take massive hits,  research from Gartner reveals. PC shipments in Western Europe totalled just 10.9 million units last quarter, down 19.8 percent year-on-year.

Gartner concluded that the death of netbook PCs, inventory woes caused by the transition to Haswell and Windows 8.1 all played a role in the decline. Acer and Asus were particularly hard hit. Acer’s sales were down 44.7 percent, while Asus took a 41.7 percent plunge. Acer sold just 1.3 million boxes in Q2, down from 2.36 million in the same quarter last year. It faired a bit better in Britain, with a 21.4 percent drop. Asus managed 850,000 units, down from 1.45 million last year.

HP still leads the way with 2.28 million units and a 20.8 percent market share. Unlike Acer and Asus, it managed to maintain its market share, but overall shipments were down 17.4 percent compared to a year ago. Lenovo was the only big vendor to end the quarter on a positive note. It shipped 1.26 million units, up from 1.185 million last year. That was enough to boost its market share from 7.8 to 11.5 percent.

Dell also did relatively well. Although its shipments were down 1.1 percent to 1.17 million units, Dell upped its market share from 8.7 percent to 10.7 percent.


Although all segments of the PC market declined, notebook sales saw a 23.9 percent drop, while desktop sales declined 12.2 percent. The consumer market saw a 25.8 percent dip, while sales of professional rigs were down 13.5 percent.

Gartner concluded that the UK mobile PC market lost 25 percent of its volume since 2010. PC shipments in Blighty totalled 2.2 percent units in Q1, down 13 percent from Q1 2012.

“The second quarter marked the 11th consecutive quarter of decline in the U.K.,” said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner. “During this time the notebook market has shrunk nearly 25 percent in unit volume. The U.K. notebook market totaled over 2 million units in the second quarter of 2010 and has now reached just under 1.5 million units.”

Atwal said PC vendors are now at a “make or break point” in the industry, as the product move to new hardware and Windows 8.1 could turn things around. He also pointed out that the professional market did a lot better than the consumer market.

However, it looks like things will get worse before they get better.

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.