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Demand for tablet PCs had a cannibalization impact on PC sales in the fourth quarter, according to two new reports from research firms Gartner and IDC.
Overall, IDC had PC sales declining 4.8 percent in the fourth quarter in the United States to 20.0 million units. Gartner had U.S. PC sales slipping 6.6 percent to 19.1 million units shipped.
Competition from Apple's iPad and other media tablets likely impacted PC sales, according to David Daoud, research director for U.S. Quartlery PC Tracker and Personal Computing at IDC.
"This situation is likely to persist in 2011, if not worsen, as a wave of media tablets could put a dent in the traditional PC market," Daoud said.
Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, said while U.S. holiday sales were not fantastic, the professional market showed healthy growth but that media tablets undoubtedly intensified the competition in the consumer market.
"These devices do not replace primary PCs, but they are viewed as good enough devices for these who want to have a second and third connected device for content consumption usage," Kitagawa said.
The news was not a total surprise as research firms earlier indicated that PC sales were indeed slowing.
In the United States, Apple and Toshiba were big market share winners in the fourth quarter in PC shipments, according to both Gartner and IDC.
Apple sold 1.9 million computers in the fourth quarter, a 23.7-percent increase from the year-ago quarter, according to Gartner. U.S. Market share for the Cupertino, Calif.-based Mac maker increased to 9.7 percent from 7.4 percent in the fourth quarter last year.
IDC's numbers were a little more conservative. That firm had Apple's U.S. PC sales increasing 15.2 percent in the fourth quarter, with 1.7 million units sold for 8.7 percent market share. In the year-ago quarter, IDC reported Apple to have 1.5 million units sold for 7.2 percent share. Toshiba was the only other vendor to show a positive unit shipment gain among the top five PC vendors in the U.S., both Gartner and IDC said.
Toshiba's PC shipments grew 14.4 percent in the fourth quarter, accounting for 9.8 percent share, accordinmg to IDC. Gartner pegged Toshiba's growth at 14.4 percent to 10.3 percent total shere in the U.S.
Hewlett-Packard retained its top status in the fourth-quarter, shipping 5.6 million units for 29.3 percent market share, according to Gartner. But its unit growth slipped 6 percent compared to the year-ago quarter, according to Gartner. IDC reported HP's shipments falling 5.3 percent and its market share at 28.6 percent.