China's Lenovo Group Ltd. rode a strong surge in third quarter shipments to move into second place among global PC vendors, surpassing Dell Inc. and posting a strong challenge to market leader Hewlett-Packard Co., according to market research firm IHS iSuppli.
Lenovo’s third quarter PC shipments increased by 14.5 percent in the third quarter, reaching 12.5 million units, according to IHS. Lenvo's third quarter growth was significantly greater than that of the overall PC market, which shipped 90.4 million units in the third quarter, up 5.5 percent from the second quarter, IHS said.
Lenovo's share of global PC shipments increased to 13.9 percent in the third quarter, up from 12.8 percent in the second quarter, IHS said. Lenovo closed the gap with HP to just 4.2 percentage points, the closest any firm has come to the market leader in more than three years, IHS said.
"Lenovo continues to capitalize on strong demand for PCs in its home market of China," said Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst for compute platforms research for IHS, in a statement. “While PC sales in the United States, Europe and many other regions are suffering because of weak economic conditions and rising competition from media tablets, desktop and notebook sales remain red hot in China. This is allowing Lenovo to outgrow it U.S. rivals—and putting it in position to contend with HP for market leadership."
Lenovo, which was fourth in the world in PC shipments in the first quarter of this year, delivered sequential growth of 12 and 16 percent in its desktop and notebook PC shipments, respectively, in the third quarter, according to IHS. Beyond Lenovo's home-field advantage in China, the company's third quarter performance was aided by its venture with NEC and the acquisition of Medion, IHS said.
HP expanded its PC shipments to 16.3 million units in the third quarter, up 5.9 percent compared to the second quarter, roughly in line with overall industry growth, according to IHS. Former HP CEO Léo Apotheker said in August that the company would likely spin off its PC business, presumably because of slowing growth, but the decision was reversed in October by new CEO Meg Whitman, IHS noted.
Third quarter PC shipments of 90.4 million were up 2.6 percent compared to 88.1 percent in the third quarter of 2010, IHS said. PC shipment growth in the quarter fell short of the firm's forecast of 6.8 percent year-to-year growth, IHS said.
"While third-quarter PC shipments came in lower than our predictions, the attainment of any growth at all represents a victory for the market,” Wilkins said. "This increase in sales comes at a time of weak consumer sales and a strong challenge from alternative platforms—specifically the media tablets. In this environment, all growth is progress."
IHS said Asian-based PC makers, including Lenovo, outperformed their top-tier U.S-based rivals in the third quarter. Asustek Computer Inc. of Taiwan delivered the best performance among the top five brands, with 36 percent sequential growth, IHS said. Fellow Taiwanese supplier Acer Inc. delivered 6.8 percent annual growth in shipments in the third quarter, IHS said.
Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.—ranked seventh and eighth, respectively—also reported very strong year-over growth of 27 percent and 36 percent, respectively, in the quarter, IHS said.