Global PC shipments resume slide in fourth quarter

Gartner: Not a very merry Christmas for PC market as chip shortage bites, small biz vanishes

According to IDC and Gartner, PC sales in Q4 have been negatively affected by CPU shortages and the U.S. trade war (via ZDNet). The demand existed, the market research firm says, only that the said shortage "affected vendors' ability to fulfill demand created by business PC upgrades".

For the holiday period, Gartner has worldwide PC shipments at 68.6 million units, down 4.3 percent YoY.

IDC reported that shipments of traditional PCs came in at 68.1 million units in the fourth quarter, down 3.7 percent from a year ago. "After two quarters of growth in 2Q18 and 3Q18, PC shipments declined in the fourth quarter", said Mikako Kitagawa, senior principal analyst at Gartner.

IDC had shipments for the year flat (258 million) at -0.4 percent and places HP ahead of Lenovo at the top, but it did say US-China tensions could cause more problems.

The global PC market returned to its familiar downward slope in the fourth quarter, according to preliminary numbers from market analysts.

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"Our early indicator showed that SOHO and small business buyers held off on some new PC purchases due to uncertainties around the political and economic conditions".

This was due to a strong quarter in the United States for Lenovo, whereas HP suffered declines in shipments in most key regions - with Asia being the notable exception. Dell, in contrast, had the strongest year-over-year growth among the top five OEMs with a 1.6 percent increase in quarterly shipments.

IDC's Asia/Pacific Client Devices Group Research Manager Maciek Gornicki separately highlights that the ongoing economic tensions between the USA and China are likely to create a lot of uncertainty in the business environment in China. There was even uncertainty in the USA - where the overall economy has been strong - among vulnerable buyer groups, such as small and midsize businesses (SMBs).

Gartner has published its provisional PC vendor sales data for 2018, showing that Chinese PC brand Lenovo has regained its position as the global market leader. The PC industry is driven by consumer demand in the fourth quarter, but a rocky stock market and volatility hampered demand. "Holiday sales are no longer a major factor driving consumer demand for PCs". Dell was second (25.7%), followed by Lenovo (15.2%) and Apple (12.4%).

HP was the market leader in 2017, with Lenovo being the top vendor for four consecutive years between 2013 and 2016.

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