TAIWANESE COMPUTER MAKER Acer has seen PC shipments plummet by as much as 34.9 per cent in the second quarter of this year, while the overall PC industry saw a small return to growth.
The laptop giant fell from second position in worldwide PC shipments into fourth place, behind HP, Dell and Lenovo, thanks to a massive fall in shipments in all of its key markets, according to figures by Gartner.
Overall worldwide shipments were down from 11.7 million units to 9.3 million units, a drop of 20.4 per cent. IDC shows a somewhat less abyssmal drop of 10.1 per cent, primarily because its estimated shipments for the second quarter of 2010 are just over 10 million.
In the US Acer shipped around two million units in the second quarter of 2010, but this fell to just over 1.5 million units in the same period this year, a drop of 22.6 per cent.
Its market share dropped as a result from 11.3 per cent to 9.3 per cent, putting it in fifth place behind HP and Dell, which made small losses, and Apple and Toshiba, which made reasonable gains of 8.5 per cent and 3.3 per cent, respectively.
IDC showed an even worse fall for Acer in the US market of 25.4 per cent, thanks to a further shipment drop of close to 60,000 units.
The Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) market was by far the worst performing for Acer, with shipments dropping from over five million units to just 3.3 million units, a decline of 34.9 per cent. This knocked Acer into second place behind HP, which saw modest growth of 3.6 per cent in this region.
While HP remained the top dog in the industry, with growth of three per cent, Lenovo saw the strongest growth at around 22 per cent. If it was not for this company's good performance it is likely that the PC market would not have seen any growth at all, since Acer's declining shipments would have negated the small growth at other companies.
A lot of the poor shipment figures were blamed on the rise of tablet computers, like the Apple Ipad, which have taken the world by storm over the past year. The tablet market's gain seems to be the PC's market loss, as consumers spend big on handheld devices instead of upgrading their desktop or laptop computers.
Acer's specific problem is its low-price, high-volume business model, which Gartner said is no longer effective. If this is true then Acer will need to rethink how it approaches the industry, which could see it churn out a smaller number of more expensive computers. This will mean further declines in overall shipments, but revenue could rise as a result.
Overall, PC shipments were up 2.3 per cent according to Gartner and 2.6 per cent according to IDC, making Acer's extensive losses even more embarrassing, considering that the industry is starting to get moving again. µ
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