Hewlett-Packard retained its lead over Dell in worldwide PC shipments for the second consecutive quarter and crept closer to Dell's lead in U.S. shipments during the fourth quarter, according to the research firms Gartner and IDC.
HP grabbed about 17 percent of the worldwide market, giving it a four-point lead over Dell, with Lenovo, Acer and Toshiba finishing out the top five in the fourth quarter, according to the research companies. Dell's U.S. shipments shrank by about 17 percent, leaving it with a market share of 29 percent, while HP saw its shipments increase over 16 percent, giving it 25 percent of the PC pie. Gateway, Apple and Toshiba were the other top U.S. shippers during the quarter.
Overall, the fourth quarter saw U.S. PC numbers decrease about 3 percent on shipments, totaling 16 million, according to Gartner, and 17 million by IDC's count. Differing research methods account for the discrepancy between the two companies.
Price erosion, competition from popular CE items such as flat-panel TVs along with consumers awaiting the launch of Microsoft's Vista-equipped PCs on Jan. 30 were the primary reasons cited for the drop in fourth-quarter shipments, the two companies reported.
"The U.S. market displayed an unseasonably weak performance, largely attributed to poor commercial demand, affecting vendors such as Dell and Lenovo," said David Daoud, IDC's personal computing and PC tracker programs manager. "However, the consumer notebook market was solid, essentially benefiting vendors active in the retail sector."
Despite losing share over the past two quarters, Dell was still the top U.S. PC shipper for 2006, with 20 million units shipped, giving it 31 percent of the market, down 4.6 percent from 2006, IDC reported.
Dell was the only manufacturer to suffer negative growth in the U.S. market for all of 2006, said IDC. The other companies all enjoyed double-digit increases with Apple and Toshiba posting 22 percent shipment gains.
Dell's numbers were its lowest in four years, said Mikako Kitagawa, Gartner's client computing marketing group's principle analyst, adding that its accelerated shipment decline in the fourth quarter was still surprising.
Worldwide shipments were up around 10 percent, with IDC showing 229 million units shipped, while Gartner reported 239 million.
U.S. PC Unit Shipments