ASUS Cracks Top Five PC Vendors As PC Market Rebounds

According to the analysis firm IDC, PC sales were up 22.4 percent in Q2, in line with the 22.9 percent growth expected by industry analysts. The strongest market was the Europe, Middle East, and Africa market (EMEA), despite fears about the future of the Euro earlier this quarter. Both US and Asia/Pacific sales surged, although not quite to the degree analysts had expected.

On a worldwide basis, Desktop PC shipments exceeded expectations, helping to confirm signs that businesses are moving ahead with replacements, while Portable PC sales trailed forecast estimates, reflecting the effects of a thus-far jobless recovery on consumer spending. "The PC market remains robust, and in a recovery phase, despite challenges to a broader economic recovery, such as slow job growth and a more conservative outlook in Europe and Asia/Pacific," said Jay Chou, research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. "The factors which led to the recent PC rebound – an aging commercial installed base, a proliferation of low-cost media-centric PCs, and low PC penetration through much of the world – remain key drivers going forward."

"The surge in consumer activity seen in the past two quarters has started to slow as expected, while commercial replacements continue to grow," said Bob O'Donnell, IDC Vice President for Clients and Displays. "We expect consumer activity to remain healthy, but gradually slow through the end of the year, while commercial market growth will be more stable, reflecting a planned replacement cycle over the next several years."

Typically, Intel's projections and quarterly sales estimates from IDC map well against each other, but not in this case. When we covered Intel's fourth quarter results yesterday, we noted that the company earned record revenue and set new records for mobile CPU shipments. According to IDC, growth in the Portable PC segment 'trailed forecast estimates', which they blame on the current jobless recovery. What's more likely is that IDC simply goofed their own prediction. Intel's own numbers state that volume shipments, ASPs, and revenue all grew in Q2, which makes it rather unlikely that one number concealed a drop in a different area.

When it comes to North American projections, IDC states: "Although we saw some healthy PC refresh activity, volumes were below our initial estimations...As we move into the second half of 2010, slower economic growth and rising costs may undermine the market's ability to drive growth with aggressive pricing."

Asus Ascendent

None of the traditional top five vendors (HP, Dell, Acer, Lenovo, Toshiba) had a bad quarter. HP grew well in the US but slower than Dell in global markets, Acer dominated emerging markets, and Lenovo did well in every segment. Asus' ascension into the Top 5 (tied with Toshiba at fifth). Asus' expansion didn't match what we saw in Q1 (a common theme this quarter) but the company grew its distribution network well."

It's not what you'd call a mainstream part, but we'd love one of the company's dual 5870s.

In absolute terms, Asus has just a small slice (5.3 percent) of the PC industry, but the company's year-on-year growth rate of 83.6 percent is staggering. Asus isn't the only company posting huge year-on-year gains because last year's second quarter was so terrible, but it's the only major vendor posting gains above 50 percent. If the company's distribution network and sales focus remain well-built and on target, we might see Asus replace Toshiba altogether as early as next quarter. Unfortunately, IDC doesn't break sales data down by product, which makes it difficult to identify what systems or brands are raking in the dough.
Tags:  AMD, Intel, Lenovo, Dell, Asus, HP, Acer, Toshiba, IDC, EMEA