These aren't the best times for the PC industry. Gartner has posted preliminary numbers for this year's second quarter, and it looks like PC shipments fell by 0.1% compared to the same quarter a year back—from 87.56 million units to 87.47 million. According to Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa, that makes Q2 2012 the "seventh consecutive quarter of flat to single-digit growth" for the PC market.
Gartner pins the blame on "uncertainties in the economy in various regions, as well as consumer's low interest in PC purchases." Not surprisingly, the research firm says consumers are more interested in the latest tablets and smartphones than in upgrading their PCs. Also, despite Intel's best efforts—not to mention a fair amount of buzz from PC vendors—ultrabooks don't seem to be generating much excitement. "Shipment volume was small and little impact on overall shipment growth," says Gartner in reference to the new thin-and-light systems.
Along with all the doom and gloom, Gartner's report includes market share data for major PC vendors. In the United States last quarter, it seems Apple was the only vendor in the top five whose shipments didn't recede. The Mac maker saw 4.3% unit growth from Q2 2011 to Q2 2012, and it remained firmly in third place, with its market share inching up from 10.8% to 12%. Acer, the next biggest PC vendor in the U.S. by volume, had its share slip from 9.3% to 8.5% over the same time period.
Worldwide, Asian PC makers have apparently fared better than their American counterparts. Lenovo, Acer, and Asus all saw their shipments go up, while HP and Dell both suffered declines of around 12%. HP now seems in danger of losing the top-dog spot to Lenovo: it was ahead by 4.2 points last year, but the two firms are now almost on even footing, with 14.7% and 14.5% of the global market, respectively. Dell, meanwhile, has already lost the number-three spot to Acer.