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Canadian PC shipments plummet in second quarter

IDC Canada reports sharp declines in both desktop and portable shipments

Forecasts for PC shipments in Canada for the second quarter of 2012 were already pessimistic, but with the numbers tallied research firm IDC Canada reports the decline was even worse than anticipated at 8.4 per cent, year over year.

The decline in shipments in Canada was worse than the global decline of 1.7 per cent, and can be traced to weakness in both desktop and portable shipments. Desktop shipments were off 8.0 per cent with 549,939 units shipped, while portables were off 8.6 per cent with 880,401 units shipped in the quarter.

A slowdown on the consumer side and a market correction helped fuel the decline said Tim Brunt, program manager for personal computing with IDC Canada.

“We’ve seen just a dramatic increase in the selling value, so we’ve lost that really low-end of the market which was driving a lot of the unit volumes we’ve seen the last few years,” said Brunt.

The upcoming release of Windows 8 is another likely factor, added Brunt, speculating vendors and retailers aren’t sure what the consumer reception will be so they’re shipping higher-end PCs that leave them with more margin to mark down products if they need to clear inventory.

Additionally, he added tablet sales, while not replacing PCs with most users, are causing people to delay PC purchases by extending the lifecycle of their current machines.

Consumer shipments were down by 7.6 per cent, with three vendors alone – HP, Toshiba and Dell – combining for a 43.2 per cent decline in shipment volume. Commercial shipments were also down by 9.2 per cent, with much of the decline coming from the SMB segment where buying behaviour tends to mimic the consumer channel.

One of the few bright spots of the quarter was Apple with the release of its Retina Macbook Pro, which helped the vendor post growth of 52.4 per cent and take second place in the consumer portable rankings for the first time.

With its higher prices, Apple also helped drive average selling prices higher. With Apple, the average selling price was up $199 to $835, but without Apple factored in it was up just $25, to $636. Apple accounted for 38.7 per cent of consumer portable revenue in the quarter on just 14.5 per cent of units shipped.

On the overall vendor leaderboard, HP held onto top spot with 18.9 per cent, but declined 27 per cent over the year ago. Acer and Dell were two and three and also posted declines, while Lenovo was a bright spot in fourth with 12.5 per cent of shipments, up 28.8 per cent. Apple rounded-out top five with 10.9 per cent share, up 7.1 per cent.

Looking ahead, Brunt said IDC sees continued shipment declines through the end of next year, with a return to positive growth not likely before 2014. With PC penetration at 130 per cent or 1.3 PCs here household, the market is pretty saturated.

“At some point (sales) can’t continue to grow before you see pullback, and I think that’s what we’re seeing now,” said Brunt.