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PC market declines further

11 October 2017

Worldwide shipments of personal computers (PCs) have continued to slide, according to new research.

"Worldwide shipments totaled 67 million units, down 3.6% from the year-earlier quarter, and according to lead PC analyst Mika Kitagawa, what really hurt the business was a 10% drop in shipments in the USA market, which offset "signs of stabilization" in markets such as Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Japan and Latin America". Dell, which had the slightest decline (0.4 percent), shipped 10.15 million to come in at third on the list. But given the longstanding trend of decline in the market, it's safe to assume that PC shipments will continue to trend downward even as we approach the holiday shopping season.

Gartner and IDC analysts have pointed to a variety of factors of this past quarter's decline, including component shortages. Nonetheless, higher component prices and inventory in some markets meant limited shipments and validated IDC assumptions about a muted third quarter.

IDC notes that competitive pressures have further cemented the dominance of the top five PC companies, which accounted for almost 75% of the total traditional PC market.

DRAM shortages were particularly worse during the third quarter, Gartner said, compared with the first half of 2017. "The component price hike impacted the consumer PC market as most vendors generally pass the price hike on to consumers, rather than absorbing the cost themselves", says Kitagawa. Gartner expects the shortage to continue through 2018.

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Gartner called out the relative weakness of the USA market for the worldwide decline.

"Weak back-to-school sales were further evidence that traditional consumer PC demand drivers for PCs are no longer effective", Gartner principal analyst Mika Kitagawa said in a statement.

Business PC demand, led by Windows 10 upgrades, continued to drive shipments across all regions, but its refresh schedule varies by region. "The countries with stable economies, such as the U.S., have created a positive sentiment among businesses, especially for SMBs, which are more vulnerable to external events such as economic or political [ones]", said Kitagawa. The top five vendors in IDC's results were HP, Lenovo, Dell, Apple, and Asus.

Lenovo held the second position with volume holding flat at 0.1% year-over-year growth.

Gartner indicated a much closer race between HP and Lenovo. Gartner notes HP has now notched five consecutive quarters of global PC growth.

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For more details for PC Shipments in Q3 2017 read the full IDC report here.

Both IDC and Gartner have claimed that the EMEA PC market has seen signs of recovery after logging its fifth consecutive year of decline at the end of 2016.

Lenovo experienced its steepest year-over-year decline of PC shipments in the United States since it acquired the IBM PC business division in 2005.

The traditional PC market has clocked a better than expected result for the third quarter, with HP Inc logging a "notable" shipment increase for the period thanks to big wins in Asia Pacific.

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PC market declines further