HP Gains Share, Maintains Lead in PC Shipments (HPQ, AAPL, DELL)

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Hewlett Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) maintained its global leadership in PC sales in the first quarter of 2012, shipping more than 15 million units. The sales figures come from two reports, one from Gartner Inc. and the other from International Data Corp. (IDC), which differ in their specifics but paint the same overall picture.

In US sales, HP and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) were the only two companies to gain market share, while Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL), Toshiba Corp., and Acer Inc. lost share. HP’s US market share rose about 2% to either 28% or 29% depending on which survey you refer to. Apple grew its US market share by around 4% or 5%, again depending on the report. Dell lost -3.6% on both surveys. HP shipped more than 4.5 million units in the US, Apple shipped about 1.6 million, and Dell shipped around 3.5 million.

Globally, China’s Lenovo Group Ltd. grew market share by 28% (Gartner) or nearly 44% (IDC) shipping more than 11 million units in the quarter. Dell shipped about 10 million units worldwide.

Global shipments totaled 88.9 million units (Gartner) or 87.3 million units (IDC), up 1.9% (Gartner) or 2.3% (IDC) over the same period a year ago.

In the US, shipments totaled 15.5 million units (Gartner) or 16.6 million units (IDC). By Gartner’s count, US shipments fell -3.5% while shipments rose 1% according to IDC.

The shortage of hard drives due to floods in Thailand had little effect on overall sales, but could have affected smaller vendors which had trouble securing drives.

Another interesting point is the growth in Apple’s US sales. The company’s leadership in tablets and smartphones is very likely giving a boost to sales of its desktop and portable computers. Apple’s brand is a powerful marketing message and the company’s image as a technological leader helps it sell its computers even though the machines compete with lower-priced PCs.

As the Wintel consortium rolls out both a new processor and a new operating system later this year, sales of PCs could pick, especially for the thin, lightweight Ultrabook portables.

HP’s shares are up about 6.7% today, at $24.99 in a 52-week range of $21.50-$41.74. It looks like the company’s decision not to sell off its PC division was correct.

Paul Ausick