The Spanish market of personal computers closed the third quarter in positive after stringing two consecutive quarters in negative. The IDC consultancy, which measures sales to the distribution channel, estimates that PC sales between July and September increased 4.3% compared to the same period of the previous year, to 843,000 units. This has been contributed by the consumer segment, which soared by 9%, and the anticipation of Christmas deliveries to avoid the lack of supply of next-generation Intel chips that the industry is suffering, according to CincoDias sources in the sector. .
These sources emphasize that this impulse of 9% turns out to be a "somewhat artificial" growth, since the GFK data, which account for sales to the final consumer, show that in consumption from January to September the sale of computers fell by 3.5 % in units, although in August and September they grew by 9.8% and 3.5%, respectively. In turnover, the business grew by 0.5% in the first nine months, with a pull of 10.8% and 3.1% in August and September.
The same sources say that "the Black Friday and Christmas campaigns demand deliveries on time", which would have led some manufacturers such as Lenovo, and to a lesser extent HP, to bring many machines to the country in order to avoid supply problems 8th-generation (high-end) chips from Intel that the industry takes for granted will occur "for at least two more quarters".
The microprocessor giant does not seem able to reassure its customers despite announcing last October that it has increased the capacity of some of its factories to ensure sufficient availability of chips to meet all the demands of computer manufacturers. Intel has been forced to delay the launch of its first chips with 10 nanometer technology until 2019, which would have raised the demand for its 8th generation chips with 14 nanometer technology.
Beyond the consumer market, the demand for commercial equipment has fallen by 1.5% in the third quarter, according to IDC. A "conjunctural" decrease that the manufacturers attribute to the aforementioned Intel problem and to changes in the Heritage catalog (approved in September that defines which computers can be purchased by the central administration) and to changes in the purchasing process in public tenders. In this environment, the only segment that has behaved particularly well has been education, where devices of 11.6 inches and prices over 300 euros have prevailed, both with Windows 10 and Chromebook.
The manufacturers foresee, nevertheless, that the sales in this segment return to the rise driven by the adoption of Windows 10 and the need for greater security in the systems.
GFK has also revealed another important fact: a strong pull of the online channel in consumption. For the first time, this channel has been more used to buy computers than the chains of specialized physical stores, such as Media Markt or Worten, or general physical establishments such as El Corte Inglés or Carrefour. And the forecast is that this channel, which is up five percentage points so far this year, continue to grow, given that Black Friday is celebrated this month, which draws a lot from online sales.
According to this last analysis firm, the laptop was the product that grew the most, because it is incorporating premium elements (solid hard drives, improved and finer designs).
By companies, HP, which has increased its total sales by 3.8% between July and September, according to IDC, remains the leader in Spain. Lenovo, with a boost of 17.3%, remains second in the global ranking, but it takes HP's first place in consumption, where it controls 32.4% of the market compared to 29.6% of HP. GFK leads HP in sales to the final consumer.
The top 5 of the IDC global ranking is completed by Acer, which after growing 2.5%, closed September with a 9.1% market share; Apple, which increased its sales by 1.1%, controls 8.5% of the market, and Asus, which despite falling 25.2%, maintains a 6.5% share.
For the last quarter of the year, the sector anticipates that there may be problems of stock derived from Intel's effort to cover the demand and "arrive late and suddenly". "There will be no flexibility and opportunities will be lost both in consumption and in business," said some sources consulted. However, they add "we do not believe that the market in sales to the final consumer will grow significantly with respect to last year, but we do not foresee that it will decrease either in units or in turnover".