Can Lenovo Claim Global PC Lead from HP?
Armed with a boatload of newly lined-up, aggressively-priced and ready-to-go notebooks, tablets and desktops, will Lenovo knock harder on Hewlett-Packard’s (NYSE: HPQ) door for worldwide PC market leadership in Q3 2012?
There’s still three weeks left in the quarter, nearly two months before the expected Windows 8 bump in PC sales, and, according to researchers, PC shipments may not be yielding the typical back-to-school spike this year. But soon enough we’re going to get a good idea if Lenovo can continue its steady climb up the charts or if HP can hold on to its slim lead.
Both HP and Lenovo have made significant new product introductions so far this summer. In early July, HP rolled out four new all-in-one desktops and last week unveiled the Envy x2, a hybrid tablet/PC, and two ultrabooks, the Spectre XT TouchSmart and the Envy TouchSmart 4. The kicker is that all three units aren’t available until December, with pricing set only for the Spectre XT TouchSmart, starting at $1,399.99
In late July, Lenovo prepped channel partners for a complete product revamp by stacking up a series of incentives, pricing actions and marketing programs aimed at cleaning out old inventory. Then, in quick succession at the end of August, Lenovo rolled out 15 new products, including laptops, tablets and desktops:
- IdeaPad S300, S400, S405 laptops, Windows 8-ready, available now, prices start at $499
- IdeaPad U510 ultrabook, the successor to the U310 and U410, available this month, prices start at $679
- IdeaPad Y400 and Y500 laptops, aimed at the mobile gaming and multimedia market, available in October, prices start at $649
- IdeaPad Z400 and Z500 slim laptops, available in November and September, respectively, prices start at $549
- Ideatab S2110 10-inch tablet, running Android 4.0, available now, prices start at $399
- Ideatab A2107 (7-inch), A2109 (9-inch). The A2109 is available now, prices start at $299, and the A2107 will be available later this year
- IdeaCentre A520 all-in-one desktops, successor to the A720, available in October, prices start at $999
- IdeaCentre B340, B345 and B545 all-in-one PCs aimed at the home entertainment market, the first two models available in October priced starting at $599, the latter not until next April, priced at $699
Aside from replenishing its product lineup, the common threads in Lenovo’s new offerings are the aggressive price points and the range of systems available to the channel, two major factors that have driven its rise among PC makers. In Q2, Lenovo made a 3 percent stride forward in its tussle with HP for worldwide PC leadership, nearly matching HP’s unit shipments to close within a half a percentage point for the market share lead, a move accomplished largely by pumping the channel with margin opportunities, lucrative rebates and a broad product lineup to attack the SMB, commercial and public sectors.
Deploying the same sales strategy with a raft of new products in tow, will Lenovo be able to close the gap even further, possibly pass HP, or will HP retain its lead?
Right now, the odds seem in Lenovo’s favor. With HP laying off some 27,000 employees amid losing $8.9 billion in Q3 2012 (its largest quarterly loss ever), the company’s problems appear to transcend any single product or service group. Add to that a somewhat overwhelming laptop and tablet portfolio, factor in Lenovo’s booming Q1 2013 results, and HP may be ripe for the picking. We’ll see.