PC sales see worst drop ever in Q1

Updated 12 April 2013
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PC sales see worst drop ever in Q1

NEW YORK: Worldwide sales of personal computers slid 13.9 percent in the first quarter of 2013, research firm IDC said, the worst contraction since it began tracking the market in 1994.
IDC said global PC shipments totaled 76.3 million units in the first quarter, the fourth consecutive quarter of year-on-year declines. The group said sales were down “significantly across all regions” of the world.
The research firm said tablets and smartphones “continue to divert consumer spending” and efforts by PC makers to come up with touchscreens and capabilities and ultra-slim systems have fallen flat.
While surveys have shown consumers shifting away from traditional PCs to tablets and other devices, the survey highlighted a grimmer-than-expected market.

The survey found a result far worse than IDC’s projected 7.7 percent year-on-year drop despite what the firm called “some mild improvement in the economic environment and some new PC models” with the Windows 8 operating system.
“At this point, unfortunately, it seems clear that the Windows 8 launch not only failed to provide a positive boost to the PC market, but appears to have slowed the market,” said IDC analyst Bob O’Donnell.
“While some consumers appreciate the new form factors and touch capabilities of Windows 8, the radical changes to the UI (user interface), removal of the familiar ‘Start’ button, and the costs associated with touch have made PCs a less attractive alternative to dedicated tablets and other competitive devices.
“Microsoft will have to make some very tough decisions moving forward if it wants to help reinvigorate the PC market.”
IDC said Hewlett-Packard remained the top vendor despite a 23 percent year on year drop in first-quarter shipments.
China’s Lenovo remained second in global shipments and nearly closed the gap with HP, based on IDC estimates.
According to IDC, HP sold 11.997 million PCs for a 15.7 percent market share to 11.7 million for Lenovo, for a 15.3 percent share. Dell was third at 11.8 percent followed by Taiwan firms Acer (8.1 percent) and Asus (5.7 percent).
A separate report by Gartner painted an equally bleak picture.
Gartner said global shipments fell 11.2 percent from a year earlier to 79.2 million, dropping below 80 million units for the first time since the second quarter of 2009.
Mikako Kitagawa, analyst at Gartner, said: “Consumers are migrating content consumption from PCs to other connected devices, such as tablets and smartphones. Even emerging markets, where PC penetration is low, are not expected to be a strong growth area for PC vendors.
Gartner data showed HP and Lenovo “in a virtual tie” for the top vendor spot, with HP barely ahead at 14.8 percent to 14.7 percent for Lenovo.
In the US, HP is in the middle of a wrenching restructuring to cope with the market shift, while Dell is mulling a private buyout led by founder Michael Dell in an effort to revive growth.
The US market for PCs slumped 12.7 percent in the first quarter, according to IDC. Gartner data showed a 9.6 percent drop.
Apple outperformed most of its peers by grabbing more market share in the US, but faced pressure “as its own PCs also face competition from iPads,” according to IDC.


OPEC oil ministers gather to discuss production increase

Updated 43 min 34 sec ago
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OPEC oil ministers gather to discuss production increase

  • Analysts expect the group to discuss an increase in production of about 1 million barrels a day
  • The officials were arriving in Vienna ahead of the official meeting Friday

VIENNA: The oil ministers of the OPEC cartel were gathering Tuesday to discuss this week whether to increase production of crude and help limit a rise in global energy prices.
The officials were arriving in Vienna ahead of the official meeting Friday, when they will also confer with Russia, a non-OPEC country that since late 2016 has cooperated with the cartel to limit production.
Analysts expect the group to discuss an increase in production of about 1 million barrels a day, ending the output cut agreed on in 2016.
The cut has since then pushed up the price of crude oil by about 50 percent. The US benchmark in May hit its highest level in three and half years, at $72.35 a barrel.
Upon arriving, the energy minister of the United Arab Emirates, Suhail Al Mazrouei, said: “It’s going to be hopefully a good meeting. We look forward to having this gathering with OPEC and non-OPEC.”
The 14 countries in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries make more money with higher prices, but are mindful of the fact that more expensive crude can encourage a shift to renewable resources and hurt demand.
“Consumers as well as businesses will be hoping that this week’s OPEC meeting succeeds in keeping a lid on prices, and in so doing calling a halt to a period which has seen a steady rise in fuel costs,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK
The rise in the cost of oil has been a key factor in driving up consumer price inflation in major economies like the US and Europe in recent months.
Already US President Donald Trump has called on OPEC to cut production, tweeting in April and again this month that “OPEC is at it again” by allowing oil prices to rise.
Within OPEC, an increase in output will not affect all countries equally. While Saudi Arabia, the cartel’s biggest producer, is seen to be open to a rise in production, other countries cannot afford to do so. Those include Iran and Venezuela, whose industries are stymied either by international sanctions or domestic turmoil. Iran is a fierce regional rival to Saudi Arabia, meaning the OPEC deal could also influence the geopolitics in the Middle East.