NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Apple (AAPL) and Lenovo (LNVGY) are among a small number of personal computer makers that seem to be benefiting from the continued PC sales slump that's been hitting most makers hard, analysts said Friday.
Lenovo remained the top PC maker globally in the first quarter, with shipments increasing 3.4% to 13.4 million units and its market share growing to 19.6% from 17.6% a year ago, according to research firm International Data Corp.
HP remained number two, its shipments increasing 3.3% to 13 million and its market share growing to 19% from 17.1%. Although Apple wasn't in the top five globally due to higher pricing compared to rivals, it was number four in the U.S.. Shipments increased 1.7% to 1.6 million and its market share grew to 10.9% from 10.6%.
"It's tough to imagine who is really the net beneficiary right now," RBC Capital Markets analyst Amit Daryanani said in a phone interview. But Apple is certainly a likely beneficiary from the woes of most PC makers, thanks mainly to continued strong demand for its iPhones and iPads as many consumers continue to shift much of their computing work to mobile devices, he said.
The market shares of HP, Lenovo and Apple each grew in the first quarter of 2015 ended March 31 despite total global PC sales declining to their lowest point since 2009, according to data released separately by research companies Gartner and IDC.
HP was the top PC maker in the U.S. during the first quarter, its shipments increasing 9.8% to four million units and its market share growing to 28.2% from 25.4%, IDC said. Dell followed, despite its shipments declining 4.2% to 3.3 million and its market share dipping 23.5% from 24.2%. Lenovo was number three, its shipments increasing 8.6% to 1.7 million and its market share growing to 11.8% from 10.7%.
It was also important to put the entire situation into perspective, said NPD analyst Stephen Baker.
Despite what Gartner said was a global year-over-year PC industry shipment decline of 5.2% in the first quarter, and what IDC said was a steeper 6.7% drop, HP, Lenovo and Apple all did fairly well in the period, Baker stated.
"It's not an across-the-board problem for every single manufacturer," said Baker of the continued PC sales slump. Notebook PC sales are, in general, also performing decently, he said. The short-term issue in the first quarter was really the tough comparison the PC market faced as a whole, he said, pointing to the huge and mostly unexpected jump in PC sales a year ago as Microsoft (MSFT) ended support for Windows XP. That sales bump last year was mostly seen on desktop PCs and there was nothing of significance to offset it in the first quarter of 2015, he said.
Meanwhile, not all consumers are moving entirely over to mobile devices and dropping PCs for all their computing needs, said Baker. "The tablet market has been in significant double-digit decline for the last 18 months, at least here in the U.S.," he said.
The largest challenge for the PC market right now is pricing, said Baker. One major thing that has kept consumer PC sales somewhat stable has been extremely aggressive pricing activity, he noted. "That's putting a lot of pressure on manufacturers who can't compete [and] it puts pressure on retailers and resellers who can't compete, who don't have the cost structures or infrastructures to be able to stay in the market at a record-low kind of pricing."