ANALYSTS at Canalys claimed worldwide PC shipments increased 12pc year-on-year in the last three months of 2012 to reach 134 million. A third of those were tablets with Apple alone accounting for 27 million.The analysts sounded a warning, however, as Apple’s tablet share dipped to 49pc. Canalys said that without the iPad Mini launch it would have fallen even further.
The firm estimates that the Mini made up over half of Apple’s total pad shipments, cannibalising both the iPad range and wider PC market. “Apple timed the launch of the iPad mini well,” said Pin-Chen Tang, Canalys Research Analyst. “Its success proves there is a clear demand for pads with smaller screens at a more affordable price. Without the launch, Apple would surely have lost more ground to its competitors.”
HP shipped 15million PCs, just beating Lenovo by 200,000 to regain second place. Samsung rose to 11.7 million and a 9pc share ahead of Dell. Samsung also shipped 7.6million pads, a rise of 226pc.
“The sub-$200 price bands now feature products from established players that do not rely on low-quality components,” said Tom Evans, Canalys Research Analyst. “Those who control ecosystems, such as Amazon and Google, can obtain revenue from content sales, but pure hardware OEMs must accept decreasing margins or exit.”
Notebook sales were flat, and Canalys said the launch of Windows 8 and holiday sales made little impact. The same factors saw the pad segment, however, grow overall by 75pc to 46.2 million units, with full-year shipments at 114.6 million units. Even so, just 3 per cent of pads shipped ran a Microsoft operating system.
Canalys said that “The software giant’s entry into the PC hardware market was something of a non-event. High pricing, poor channel strategy and a lack of clarity regarding its RT operating system led to shipments of just over 720,000 units.”
Tim Coulling, the firm’s senior analyst said “The outlook for Windows RT appears bleak. Hardware manufacturers are ignoring it due, in part, to a pricing strategy that does not align with the economics of the pad market. We expect Microsoft to rethink its pricing strategy for RT in the coming weeks.”
Compounding the bad news for Dell, and likely playing a key part in its going private earlier this week, the manufacturer’s sales fell by 19pc to 9.7 million units. Canalys claimed “Its direct business model is expensive and unsuitable for driving growth in new markets. A turnaround in fortunes is likely to take years. Should the planned buyout go through it will give the company time to rethink its strategy and refocus, away from the demands of Wall Street and shareholders.”