PC Shipments Miss Second-Quarter Forecasts, Researchers Say

July 13 (Bloomberg) -- Global personal-computer shipments rose less than forecast amid a sluggish economy and consumer preference for smartphones and Apple Inc.’s iPad media tablet, according to two market-research firms.

Shipments climbed 2.6 percent, IDC said, just shy of the 2.9 percent increase the researcher had forecast. Gartner Inc. said PC sales rose 2.3 percent from a year earlier, compared with the 6.7 percent gain the firm predicted.

Hewlett-Packard Co. remained the industry’s top PC seller, accounting for 18.1 percent of the global market, according to IDC. Dell Inc. was second with 12.9 percent, and Lenovo Group Ltd. moved up to third with 12.2 percent, IDC said.

“These preliminary results continue to reflect pressure from competing consumer and business products as well as cautious spending,” Jay Chou, a senior research analyst at Framingham, Massachusetts-based IDC, said in a statement.

PC sales in the U.S. slipped 4.2 percent, hurt by falling sales for low-cost laptops and weaker demand among corporate buyers, IDC said. The comparison with 12 percent growth in last year’s second quarter made the drop seem especially steep, IDC said. Lack of purchases by budget-strapped government agencies also contributed to the decline in the U.S., Gartner said. Gartner pegged the U.S. shipment decrease at 5.6 percent.

Apple’s Gains

One exception to the slump was Apple, whose Mac sales have benefited from the popularity of its iPhone and iPad mobile devices. The Cupertino, California-based company saw shipments grow almost 15 percent in the U.S., making it the country’s third-largest PC vendor with 10.7 percent of the market, IDC said.

Apple, which introduced a new iMac line of desktop computers, jumped from fifth to third place, overtaking Acer Inc. and Toshiba Corp., according to Gartner’s report.

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 84.4 million, according to IDC, while Gartner said global unit sales were 85.2 million for the quarter. Lenovo’s sales growth in the U.S. and Japan helped it overtake Acer in global shipments, making Acer the fourth-largest PC seller, IDC said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Adam Satariano in San Francisco at asatariano1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net