HP is one of the world's leading technology brands, the global #1 in printers, and one of the top two in PCs, slightly behind arch-rival Lenovo. Until recently it was also one of the leaders in IT services. However, the company behind the brand appeared to have lost its way in recent years as a result of management turmoil and unpredictable changes in the direction of the market. HP reinvented itself in 2002 in a merger with competitor Compaq. Although full integration of what were already two huge businesses seemed at first to have gone smoothly, the enlarged business remained over-dependent on its original printers business for profits. The board certainly thought so, forcing out high profile CEO Carly Fiorina in early 2005. New CEO Mark Hurd demonstrated a firm grasp on the business, knocking rival Dell off its perch as the global #1 in PCs in 2007, and closing the gap with IBM in IT services by buying consultancy EDS in 2008. Yet Hurd too was unceremoniously dismissed in 2010. So was his successor less than a year later, after announcing a proposal to withdraw from the PC market and then signing off on the catastrophic purchase of software developer Autonomy. A slightly different break-up plan was completed in 2015. Services, servers and storage were spun off as separate company Hewlett Packard Enterprise. PC and printer hardware now forms the core of a slimmed-down HP Inc. The computer hardware business remains tough, but HP appears to be holding its own. Overtaken by Lenovo in PCs in 2013, it has since regained some but not all its lost ground, edging ahead for a couple of years towards the end of that decade. However, Lenovo regained the #1 position for 2019 and has retained it with a narrow lead: around 24% share to HP's 22%. HP remains the undisputed leader in printers, not just personal printing but also other segments including 3D and industrial printing. It has over 40% of the global printers market, roughly double closest competitor Canon. (Ironically, though, HP also sources the key components for its laser printers from its main rival Canon). Dion Weisler became CEO following the demerger from what is now HPE, but stepped down in 2019 for family reasons and was succeeded by Enrique Lores. At the end of 2019, HP became the unwilling target of an unsolicited takeover offer from much smaller rival Xerox. It resisted the predator's approach, which was eventually abandoned in 2020 in the wake of the slump in global stock markets. Revenues peaked in ye Oct 2019 at $58.8bn before slipping back. Topline for ye 2020 was $56.5bn, with net earnings of $2.8bn. "Personal systems" (ie PCs) generated just under $39.0bn - a best-ever result - with notebooks alone contributing $25.8bn. However, printers slipped back to $17.6bn. Almost $11.6bn came from ink and other supplies rather than hardware. The group continues to expand through occasional selective acquisitions. Recent add-ons include UK office equipment supplier Apogee, bought for $380m in 2019, and the HyperX gaming accessories division of Kingston Technology, purchased in 2021 for $425m.
Capsule checked 28th May 2021
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Adbrands Daily Update 10th Jul 2020: HP regained a narrow lead over Lenovo for the first time in more than a year in an unexpectedly buoyant 2Q for PC sales. The US company captured 25.0% of worldwide volume sales, its best performance for even longer than a year, though Lenovo remained close behind at 24.1%. Dell was stable in 3rd place at 16.6% share. Total shipments rose by more than 11% year-on-year to almost 72.3m units. The sharp rise in home working caused by the pandemic contributed strongly to the growth. Apple and Acer were in 4th and 5th place respectively.
Adbrands Daily Update 1st Apr 2020: In response to the current slump in global financial markets and the medium-term uncertainty over Coronavirus, Xerox abandoned its five-month pursuit of much larger technology giant HP. The likely recession ahead makes Xerox's debt-laden proposal entirely impractical. In addition, the sharp drop in stock markets has widened the gap between the two companies' valuations. Xerox's valuation has halved since February, making it now a sixth of HP's size rather than a third.
Adbrands Daily Update 14th Jan 2020: Lenovo regained its global lead for PCs sales over the full year in 2019 with a sudden growth spurt in the second half. IDC estimated full-year share of 24.3%, ahead of HP on 23.6% and Dell at 17.5%. Apple and Acer rounded out the top five. Those five companies combined accounted for 78% of the market. "This past year was a wild one in the PC world, which resulted in impressive market growth that ultimately ended seven consecutive years of market contraction," said IDC VP Ryan Reith. Total sales of almost 367m devices represented a year-on-year lift of 2.7%, the first full year of growth since 2011, buouyed up by a surge in upgrades following Microsoft's decision to stop supporting Windows 7. However, with that changeover completed, sales are expected to decline again in 2020.
Adbrands Daily Update 13th Nov 2019: "Print The Holidays". HP has really been on a hot streak over the past few weeks. Here's our third pick from HP in three weeks, this time featuring the handiwork of endlessly experimental director Michel Gondry, for agency Goodby Silverstein. He's back on HP's case again for the first time in more than a decade: back in 2007 he was also in front of the camera for them as one of the stars of the "The Computer is Personal Again" campaign alongside Serena Williams, Jay-Z, Pharrell and Apprentice producer Mark Burnett. This time, he's reimagined the 12 Days of Christmas for HP printers, in his own inimitable style, combining live action and hand-made stop motion.
Adbrands Daily Update 24th Oct 2019: "Achieve Gamefulness". It's rare enough that we feature a single HP ad campaign here, let alone two in the space of a week. However, this new series from Wieden & Kennedy Shanghai for the company's specialist Omen gamer PCs is spectacular in both concept and execution. And also, of course, inimitably Chinese in its sensibility. The underlying theme is interesting too: HP wants to argue that playing videogames helps people improve their mental focus, stamina and teamwork skills. "This job was an interesting mix of technical challenges," said Alex Mavor of director partnership The Sacred Egg. "It really had it all: a massive set build, heavy CGI, stunts... 60 lights choreographed to music and celebrity gamers." [Professional esports champs LoveZrr, Wink and AmazingJ make appearances]. "We always try to achieve an aesthetic that is unique to each project. This, in particular, was an amazing opportunity to create a brand universe with its own look, tone, characters and rules. Something that is entirely unique and ownable for Omen and which gamers want to be a part of."
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