Canada tops U.S. in PC growth in 2011

Despite a still shaky economy Canadian PC shipments hit a new all-time high in 2011, according to data recently released by research firm IDC Canada.

According to IDC Canada’s latest PC shipments report, overall PC shipments grew in Canada by 0.86 per cent in 2011 compared to 2010, good enough for a new record for highest PC shipments of all time in Canada.

Shipments moved into positive territory thanks to 1.6 per cent year over year growth in the fourth quarter for Canada. That contrasts with a sharp decline in U.S. shipments, which dropped by 7.3 per cent on the year. Canada also managed to outpace the global growth rate of 0.4 per cent for the quarter.

Related story: Laptop-hungry SMBs drive Canadian PC demand in Q3

“It was a much better quarter certainly than we forecast, which is a good surprise,” said Tim Brunt, senior analyst for personal computing with IDC Canada.

Portables were still the growth area with 1.2 million units shipping in the quarter, good for growth of 7.8 per cent. Meanwhile, desktop shipments were in the red, with 545,284 shipping for a decline of 10.7 per cent.

“The white box guys just got killed unfortunately, with (hard drive) prices going through the roof. Unless they had good inventory it make it hard for them to make money,” said Brunt. “A lot of the white box guys don’t have the huge pipeline of business booked early for pre-shipment. They should find their way back in the market fairly soon.”

On the vendor leaderboard, HP is still in the dominant position with 24.1 per cent of the market in Q4, ahead of Acer at 20.5 per cent and Dell at 13.9 per cent. However, HP took a major hit in the quarter, with shipments declining by 13 per cent year over year, compared to growth of 9.4 per cent for Acer. HP maintains top spot based on its strong position in the desktop market, while Acer has again grabbed the notebook lead from HP, 24.3 per cent to 22.7 per cent.

Dell’s weakness in the consumer space in Q4 was balanced by increased strength in the commecial space, leading the segment with 24.3 per cent of the market, up 16.2 per cent. The SMB space showed the most growth in the quarter, and portable shipments into the commercial segment were up by 26.8 per cent.

Looking ahead to 2012, Brunt said it will likely begin with weakness as a disappointing holiday season had left many retailers with high inventory. He’s expecting a relatively flat year with new products coming into the market to help maintain 2011’s record shipment levels but economic weakness limiting possible growth. However, that could change in Windows 8 ships late in the year.

Follow Jeff Jedras on Twitter: @JeffJedrasCDN.

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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