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In the Zone

Notebook, tablet sales buoy HP, Dell, Apple

Peter Krass's picture

by Peter Krass on 11/25/2020
Blog Category: devices

With so many people now working, learning and playing at home, you might think sales of laptops and tablets would be strong. And you’d be right.

HP and Dell yesterday reported quarterly earnings that featured robust sales of laptops and gaming systems.

And market watcher IDC just reported that unit shipments in western Europe of “detachable tablets” — that is, tablets with attachable keyboards — rose 170% in the year’s third quarter. By vendor, Apple rules the roost.

HP: notebooks rise

HP yesterday reported earnings for its fiscal fourth quarter, and overall, things are pretty blah. Total revenue came in at $15.3 billion, a drop of one percentage point from the year-earlier quarter.

Similarly, the company’s Personal Systems group — that’s HP-ese for PCs — reported flat revenue of $10.4 billion.

That was even though unit shipments rose 7% year-on-year. In other words, the average selling price (APC) is down.

However, if you look at HP’s PC sales by form factor, things get a lot more interesting. For the fourth quarter, notebook revenue rose 18% while notebook unit shipments rose 25%. Desktops, however, declined: unit shipments fell 31% and revenue fell 28%.

Another way of looking at it: Notebook revenue in HP’s fourth quarter accounted for nearly half of the company’s total revenue. Desktop revenue accounted for just 15%.

Dell: double-digit growth

Things were a bit cheerier at Dell, which yesterday reported earnings for its fiscal third quarter. The company reported total revenue for the quarter of nearly $23.5 billion, a year-on-year rise of 3%.

Things were even brighter for Dell’s Client Solutions group — that’s Dell-speak for PCs. It reported record shipments, record revenue of $12.3 billion, and record operating income of $1 billion.

Of that $12.3 billion in PC revenue, 28% came from consumer sales, while the remaining 72% came from commercial sales. On a dollar basis, consumer sales in the quarter totaled $3.5 billion, a year-on-year rise of 14%. And commercial sales totaled $8.8 billion, a rise of 5%.

Dell says it enjoyed double-digit growth across the majority of its commercial and consumer lines, as well as gaming systems.

More specifically, Dell’s commercial PC revenue was driven by double-digit growth in Latitude and Precision notebooks, and by triple-digit growth in commercial Chromebooks.

Consumer revenue was driven by double-digit growth in premium XPS and Alienware gaming system, both notebooks and desktops.

Apple: tablets

All those kids now schooling from home? They (or perhaps their parents) are buying a lot of tablets.

New figures from market watcher IDC show unit shipments of detachable tablets in western Europe rose 170% in this year’s third quarter, which ended Sept. 30. These devices now represent 40% of all tablets shipped in the region.

By contrast, Q3 unit shipments of slate tablets (that is, those without keyboards) in western Europe fell by 16%, IDC says.

By verticals, education is now the region’s fastest-growing sector for tablet sales. Total tablet shipments to the western Europe education market in Q3 rose 89%, according to IDC.

By vendor, the spoils go to Apple. IDC says the company’s share of the western European education market for tablets has risen to a domineering 64%.

Apple also dominates the overall market for tablets, with a Q3 share of nearly 32%, says IDC. The market watcher says Apple shipped more than 2.6 million tablets in the region during the quarter, a year-on-year rise of nearly 31%.


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