Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Finance | By Loren Pratt

PC market saw first holiday quarter growth in six years, IDC says

PC market saw first holiday quarter growth in six years, IDC says

The PC market is beginning to show some signs of stabling, with traditional PC shipments recording a slightly positive 0.7 percent year-over-year growth worldwide in Q4 2017 and total year-over-year decline of 0.2 percent in full year 2017, according to research released by IDC.

Lenovo Group Ltd. shipped 15.7 million PCs in the last three months of 2017, unchanged from a year earlier, according to data tracking firm IDC. "There was only a moderate shipment decline in EMEA", said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "In the fourth quarter of 2017, there was PC shipment growth in Asia-Pacific, Japan and Latin America".

Like IDC, Gartner said the US PC market lagged compared to growth in Asia/Pacific, Japan and Latin America.

IDC said the figures "further validate the view of a steadying, albeit still weak" PC market, but Gartner said its own figures prove that the PC market is still in transition and will weaken further as buyers switch their attention from budget computers to high-end machines. "However, the growing popularity of other mobile form factors continued to have a dampening effect and led the overall U.S. PC market to perform below expectations".

Overall, total PC shipments for the fourth quarter of 2017 stood at 16.5 million units. The company showed year-over-year growth in all regions, including the challenging USA market.

It says China experienced its first positive PC shipment growth since the first quarter of 2012.

The Asia/Pacific PC market totaled 25 million units in the fourth quarter of 2017, a 0.6 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2016. There was also a 0.6 percent gain in the previous quarter, though the market did decline 3 percent in Q2 2017.

IDC said 2017 marked the most stable year for the PC market since 2011 with annual shipment volume of 259.5 million units.

"The fourth quarter results confirmed again that PCs are no longer popular holiday gift items".

Noticeable was companies making their products more appealing to profitable niches such as the slim and light and gaming segments.

That sales of traditional PCs have been in decline for some time has been no secret: The explosion of interest in smartphone and tablet devices and their increasing utility coupled with a lack of need for regular upgrades outside the enthusiast, gaming, and high-performance workstation markets mean that sales have been on a continued downward trend including IDC's 2013 reporting of the single biggest quarterly slump since it started tracking shipments in 1994. In 2011, the top four vendors accounted for 45 percent of PC shipments.

According to IDC, market demand was driven by a desire from PC suppliers to snap up machines before components shortages drive up prices further. IDC agrees with Gartner with the trajectory of all five companies, except for Lenovo, which it estimates was flat.

Across the year as a whole, Apple increased its worldwide market share from 7.1% to 7.6%, remaining in fourth place behind HP, Lenovo and Dell. "Enticed by a growing array of products that promise all-day battery life, high portability, and address emerging use cases that require more compute power, pockets of the consumer base are taking a serious look at these revamped PCs".

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