The ANZ PC market ended the 2011 calendar year with a solid 6% year on year (YoY) growth with 6.8 million units shipped. The result was achieved despite supply side challenges and weakening consumer demand.
However, market softness was evident in Q4 across all ANZ PC segments except the education sector. In Q4, 1.55 million units were shipped in Australia representing 10% YoY and 2% sequential growth. This result was primarily due to major rollouts to schools as part of the DER (Digital Education Revolution) program.
"Apple seized the top position as number one consumer brand in Q4 for the first time in Australia," said IDC market analyst, Amy Cheah. "However, the vendor lost its second spot in the overall ANZ notebook market as Acer saw strong uplift in Q4 on the back of a major deal with Queensland schools. That said, HP still maintained its lead in the total PC market for the full year despite losing share in Q4."
In New Zealand, 187,000 units were shipped, on par with IDC's forecast with flat YoY and sequential growth as IT spending lagged after the Rugby World Cup.
The New Zealand PC market share is now split between HP (40%), Apple (14%), Acer (11%), Dell (8%) and Toshiba (6%). All other suppliers combined represent 21% of this market.
The Australian PC market share is a bit different, with HP (19%), Acer (17%), Apple (16%), Dell (14%) and Lenovo (9%). Other manufacturers have 25% of the market.
Combined Australia and New Zealand figures show HP in the lead with 22%, followed by Acer with 15% and Apple with 14%.
Erratic performances by vendors were recorded throughout the year which reflected a heavily supply-driven market with a cycle of aggressive promotions and subsequent quarterly drops in market share for individual vendors. The pattern is particularly evident amongst key players like HP and Acer, with HP gaining share in Q4 as it drove aggressive discounting to capitalise on Christmas spending. Acer, in contrast, dropped off following a large sell in quarter in Q3. This allowed Apple to overtake Acer and claim the second largest share of the market in Q4 for first time in New Zealand.
In industry terms, outside of the education sector, commercial uptake was sluggish across ANZ. The hard disk drive (HDD) shortage resulting from severe flooding in Thailand further caused industry-wide tightening in supply. However, the negative impact was milder than initially feared as larger vendors in the ANZ region were given priority in securing HDD supply over other countries as a result of the higher value ANZ market. Vendors also reacted by reducing promotional activities and focusing on higher value products instead.
"The retail sector was soft in Q4 with minimal promotional activity due to limitations in HDD supply, but the shortage situation also allowed for inventory correction – clearing aged inventories – within the channels," said Cheah. "Although 'Ultrabooks' were the talk of the town, uptake has yet to ramp up. Vendors and retailers face a tough challenge in positioning their value proposition and justifying the higher price points.
"Christmas season spending was sporadic, picking up only towards the end of December. Sales were nonetheless lacklustre and the seasonal spike expected in Q4 was notably absent as most PC sales were brought forward by massive promotional activities in the previous quarter."
With education PC roll outs decelerating IDC expects the Australian PC market to contract 2% YoY in the full year of 2012 while the New Zealand market is expected to grow 2% YoY. The recovery from the HDD shortage in the ANZ region is expected to be ahead of other countries within the Asia Pacific region and IDC expects the ANZ market to return to normality as early as Q1 2012.