Photo - Ng Juan Jin, Market Analyst for Client Devices Research, IDC Asia/Pacific.
Malaysian regulator MCMC's Phase 4a of the mini notebook project helped to drive much of the country's 22 percent PC sector increase in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to analyst firm IDC's regional quarterly PC tracker. The increase to quarter-on-quarter increase to 768,000 units was supplemented by seasonal public sector spending, which masked another weak quarter for the retail market, it said.
IDC Asia/Pacific market analyst for client devices research Ng Juan Jin said Windows 8 has not yet made any significant impact on PC purchases and tablets and smartphones were also "competing aggressively for the end-user's wallet share in this time period."
Ng said total commercial shipments in Malaysia spiked by 98 percent quarter-on-quarter in the fourth quarter of 2012, with 352,000 units recorded. "The MCMC [Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission] project and Ministry of Education shipments were the main contributors to the strong performance of the fourth quarter, 2012, commercial market. 120,000 mini notebooks were shipped under the MCMC project while more than 40,000 desktops were deployed as the Ministry of Education spent its year-end budget."
He said the country's consumer segment declined for a third straight quarter, dropping 7 percent (quarter-on-quarter) to 416,000 units. "Windows 8 failed to live up to expectations as consumers and channels played a wait-and-see approach before making any commitments."
"The only encouraging aspect of the Windows 8 launch was the enthusiastic acceptance of touch-based notebooks," said Ng. "However, the severe shortage of these form factors limited any potential growth in the Q4 2012 market as stocks ran out by early December. On the channel side, efforts were still being made throughout the quarter to push out stocks of ageing Windows 7 models. This in turn meant that only conservative amounts of new Windows 8 devices could be brought in."
Encouraging signs for Windows 8
He added that IDC has increased its forecast for the first quarter of 2013 to 25 percent sequential growth on the confirmation of a 310,000 mini notebook commitment under Phase 4b of the MCMC initiative.
However, remaining public sector and enterprise spending should wind down after the bullish fourth quarter. "In addition, retail activity is expected to improve as component shortages for touch screen notebooks are overcome and vendors bring in new inventory."
"Persistent shortages of touch panels were a primary factor in the sluggish uptake of Windows 8 PCs," said IDC Asia/Pacific ASEAN research manager, client devices, Daniel Pang. "However, the signs of encouragement are there, buoyed by strong demand for affordable touch-enabled notebook models. As panel makers ramp up production we can expect to see a gradual rise in availability of touch notebooks which will likely give the PC market a much needed lift."
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