Tech Trends

PCs Buck Downward Trend, Inch Negligibly Upward in 1Q

Shipments of PCs have inched upward. According to International Data Corp., sales of desktops, notebooks and workstations worldwide totaled 60 million units in the first quarter of 2017, reflecting a year-over-year growth rate in that period of 0.6 percent. While IDC acknowledged that a sub-percentage point increase "was arguably flat," the IT market research firm said it was still noteworthy for being the first sign of expansion for PC sales in five years. IDC originally forecast that shipments would fall by 1.8 percent for the quarter. In fact, the last time growth was recorded was 2012, an era when "many users still considered PCs their first computing device."

The estimates come from IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker and don't cover shipments of tablets or x86 servers.

"The traditional PC market has been through a tough phase, with competition from tablets and smartphones as well as lengthening lifecycles pushing PC shipments down roughly 30 percent from a peak in 2011," said Research Manager Jay Chou, in a prepared statement. While consumer demand for PCs "will remain under pressure," (except for the gaming market), he added, the commercial market is waking up and "beginning a replacement cycle" that's expected to push growth.

In the United States, overall PC shipments for the first quarter tallied 13.3 million units. That's a drop year-over-year, attributed to a slump in notebook sales. While consumer sales especially slowed down domestically, the commercial PC market was bolstered by the growth of Chromebook sales.

During the quarter, HP regained the top spot from Lenovo, experiencing "strong" sales with a "deep portfolio" across all worldwide regions. Shipments for HP were 13.1 million for 1Q17 compared to 11.6 million in 1Q16.

In the U.S. Lenovo had its first decline (4.2 percent) since the third quarter of 2009. Worldwide, the company shipped 12.3 million units in 1Q17 compared to 12.1 million units in 1Q16.

Dell came in third, with 6.2 percent growth year-over-year with "strong notebook volume." Dell shipped 9.6 million PCs in the latest quarter vs. 9 million last year during the same period.

Apple grew 4.1 percent in this quarter from 2016 and retained the fourth position. IDC said Apple shipments for 1Q17 were 4.2 million compared to 4.036 million in 1Q16.

Acer, in fifth place, grew 2.9 percent, in part, the market intelligence firm reported, "due to better comparisons against a challenging 1Q16." While Acer sold 4.121 million units in 1Q17, it sold 4.006 million in 1Q16.

Other companies sold a total of 17 million PCs during the latest quarter, according to IDC.

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