Tablet sales slowed in Q1 and inventories are bulging, but PC sales have risen slightly as organisations move off XP, according to research firm Canalys.
Global client PC volumes expanded five per cent to 123.7m in Q1 year on year, Canalys' latest figures report, while the worldwide notebook sales slide slowed to seven per cent, with commercial sales expanding across both western Europe and North America.
That's probably just as well for the channel, as the superstar tablet market expanded by only 21 per cent to 50.8m units in the quarter.
Tim Coulling, senior analyst at Canalys, said the fall in shipments of the market-leading Apple iPad in Q1 was the sharpest drop it had seen.
"Apple took action during the quarter to run down its iPad inventory, a smart move as tablet stock in the channel rose due to strong seasonal shipments in the previous quarter," Coulling noted.
However, he said Canalys "does not believe" that this means a longer-term decline in tablets, despite "growing pressure" from larger-screen smartphones now available.
"Consumers, and increasingly businesses, are continuing to adapt, with tablets acting as disruptors and finding their place as desktop and notebook replacements," he explained. "Apple's ecosystem and the recent launch of Office for iPad should ensure it is well placed to remain a leader for some time."
Tablets are still out-shipping notebooks, Coulling said, accounting for 41 per cent of the global client market, against notebooks' 38 per cent.
Commercial PC shipments "the world over" were lifted by the end of life of Microsoft's popular Windows XP OS. This meant desktop shipments globally remained flat year on year in Q1.
PC vendors that did well included Lenovo, which boosted its share two per cent to 12 per cent year on year, reflecting the sale of 15 million units, with all PC categories contributing.
Lenovo is first in notebooks, second in desktops, and third in tablets globally, according to Canalys.
James Wong, analyst at Canalys, said EMEA was Lenovo's main source of growth this quarter, with its PC shipments there up 61 per cent year on year.
"Lenovo was quick to move with new form factors and its Yoga line now dominates the global convertible notebook market. In addition, it has diversified its tablet portfolio and has product SKUs in all key market segments," Wong said.
Vendors such as Lenovo are capitalising by tailoring tablets to specific market segments – contrasting their offerings against Apple, which prefers a "one size fits all", standardised tablet, he said.
"The tablet form factor is well liked by both young and old consumers; product customisation can be beneficial in both cases," said Wong.
Samsung fell to fourth globally after exiting the mainstream notebook market, with HP moving back into third place.
A summary of what you get if you subscribe to our premium market intelligence service
Matthew Polly says CrowdStrike is looking to branch out from the UK and into mainland Europe
Southampton-based VAR states that further acquisitions are in the pipeline
With UKFast launching a public cloud consultancy, Tom Wright asks if this is the way forward for all local hosting providers