Global PC Shipments Increase Following 2-Year Decline

Following more than two years of declining sales, global PC shipments increased 1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to a new report from market research firm Gartner.

"The PC market is quietly stabilizing after the installed base reduction driven by users diversifying their device portfolios," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, in a prepared statement. "Installed base PC displacement by tablets peaked in 2013 and the first half of 2014. Now that tablets have mostly penetrated some key markets, consumer spending is slowly shifting back to PCs."

"However, there are regional variations. Mostly, mature regions show an ongoing trend of positive growth, but emerging markets remain weak," Kitagawa added. "The U.S. showed the highest growth in the fourth quarter of 2014. In EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa), the Western Europe PC market also showed good consumer sales. Emerging markets, on the other hand, still showed weak PC growth. We attribute this weakness to a strong affinity for smartphones and tablets in those markets, while PCs are a low priority. Even low priced notebooks struggle to succeed, because of the different mobile device usage patterns."

With nearly 16.3 million shipments, Lenovo held onto its market-leading position and improved its market share from 18.3 percent in the third quarter to 19.4 percent in the most recent period. That growth was fueled by strong sales in EMEA and the United States, but tempered by declines in Latin America and Japan.

HP, in second place, narrowed the gap with Lenovo, improved from a 16.4 percent share of the market to an 18.8 percent share with more than 15.7 million shipments.

"HP has expressed its commitment to the device market, and it has started to show a positive result with strong growth in the U.S.," according to a Gartner news release. "HP's growth in EMEA and Asia/Pacific also exceeded the regional average."

Dell also saw some growth in third place, picking up nearly 1 million shipments for a total of 10.67 million and a market share that grew from 11.8 percent to 12.7 percent from the third to the fourth quarter.

Acer grabbed an 8.1 percent market share, up from 7.3 percent, and the number four spot with nearly 6.8 million shipments.

Asus held steady in market share at 7.5 percent, but dropped from fourth to fifth place with about 6.3 million shipments.

Global sales for the entire year of 2014 look much the same, with the top five vendors falling in the same order and the leader, Lenovo, capturing nearly 19 percent of all sales. The similarity in market shares for the top five extend through the group, with Asus holding 7.2 percent of the market in fifth place.

"In the U.S., PC shipments totaled 18.1 million units in the fourth quarter of 2014, a 13.1 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2013," according to information released by Gartner. "This is the fastest growth seen in the market in the last four years. HP showed the strongest growth among the top 5 vendors, as its shipments grew 26.2 percent, and it accounted for 29.2 percent of all shipments in the U.S."

Dell took second place in the U.S. with a 22.6 percent share, a slight improvement over its 22.5 percent share in the third quarter.

Apple held the third spot in the U.S. market with 11.7 percent, a small decline from its 11.9 percent third quarter share.

Fourth place Lenovo improved from 9.5 percent of the U.S. market in the third quarter to 10.2 percent in the most recent quarter.

Asus rounded out the top five, losing market share from 7.2 percent to 6.8 percent.

"The fourth quarter of 2014 was the best holiday for PC sales in recent history," said Kitagawa, in a prepared statement. "The primary driver was mobile PCs including regular notebooks, thin and light notebooks and 2-1s. Low priced notebooks with about a $300-200 price point boosted shipments while thin/light notebooks and two-in-ones (laptops with a detachable or bendable screen) showed strong growth. These results support our assumption that consumer spending is returning to the PC as tablet penetration has reached the majority of the market."

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].