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 market research company Gartner, the global sales in the fourth quarter of 2018 fell after two quarters of growth to 4.3 percent.

Mikako Kitagawa, senior principal analyst at Gartner, said: "The impact from the CPU shortage affected vendors' ability to fulfill demand created by business PC upgrades".

"As a result, the PC market in China is expected to suffer bigger declines throughout the year". Gartner expects demand to improve in 2019 as CPUs become more available. For the year, PC shipments exceeded 259.4 million units, marking a 1.3 percent decline from 2017. Kitagawa put this down to two factors: economic uncertainty among small to medium businesses and weak holiday purchases.

"Political and economic uncertainties in some countries dampened PC demand", Ms. Kitagawa said.

Both analyst firms placed Lenovo Group Holding Ltd.at the top of the tree in terms of market share with close to 17,000 unit shipments in the fourth quarter. Gartner said that holiday sales were no longer a major factor driving consumer demand for PCs. Gartner largely attributed Lenovo's gains to a joint venture with Fujitsu.

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It's not the largest drop around, but it once again paints a rather lacklustre picture for the PC market, which a year ago actually looked like it was picking up a bit after quarters upon quarters of declining shipments.

This was due to a strong quarter in the U.S. for Lenovo, whereas HP suffered declines in shipments in most key regions - with Asia being the notable exception. For the full year, sales were down 0.4 percent.

There is some good news for Lenovo who managed to beat HP to the number one spot by acquiring 24.2% of the market. However, the results also "produced the largest year-on-year decline since the 3Q16 and capped the full year at a almost flat rate of -0.4 percent", Newsbytes reported. Lastly, Apple retained the same fourth position with year-on-year growth of -3.8 percent, and Acer obtained the fifth position. HP Inc's market share was unchanged at 22.4 percent, with shipments falling 4.4 percent to 15.380 million.

Nonetheless, the market performed better than expected, with corporate PC refresh-driven by the looming Windows 7 end of life (EOL) in January 2020-helping to offset consumer market challenges.

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