Global PC shipments down 2.4% to 62.2 mln in Q1

Dion Weisler HP CEO

Dion Weisler HP CEO

HP showed the strongest growth among the top six vendors, Gartner said, with shipments increasing 6.5 percent in Q1 to 12,118 units.

Overall worldwide PC shipments fell 2.4 percent in the first quarter, and US shipments also fell by 2.4 percent, Gartner said.

While the previous forecast had expected shipments to decline 1.8 percent in the quarter, the new IDC Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker quarterly figure represented the first PC shipment growth since the first quarter of 2012, when many users still considered PCs their first computing device. Gartner also stressed that as consumer demand continues to decline, the business PC market will grow increasingly important. Weakness in the consumer market persisted, as demand and shipments in many countries were impacted by price increases fueled by tight component supply.

As has been the case for the past few years, HP Inc. and China's Lenovo remain the world's two largest PC makers. Lenovo moved to second place 1.7 percent growth, while Dell settled in the third spot with 6.2 percent growth.

Chinese PC maker Lenovo increased its lead, shipping 12.4 million units, up 1.2 per cent from a year ago securing a 19.9 per cent share of the global market.

"Vendors who do not have a strong presence in the business market will encounter major problems", Kitagawa warned, "and they will be forced to exit the PC market in the next five years. Much of the decline is attributed to the weak consumer market", Gartner said. Lenovo's growth exceeded the regional average in all key regions except the U.S.

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The performance of the PC market in Q1 has split opinion among the analyst community, with Gartner claiming the global market for PCs shrunk, but IDC pointing to a small increase in shipments over the same period. "However, there will also be specialised niche players with purpose-built PCs, such as gaming PCs and ruggedized laptops", Kitagawa added. The education sector drove shipments in the commercial space, with several projects delivered throughout the region.

The PC industry is also experiencing a price increase, owing to either local currency deterioration against the United States dollar or due to a component shortage. Over two years ago, the price hike was attributed to the local currency deterioration against the US dollar.

Gartner expects those rising component prices will keep PC prices unattractive to consumers, further hurting consumer demand. The price hike started affecting the market in Q1 of 2017. However, Russia saw single-digit PC growth, which was attributed to stabilization of the local economy.

FILE - This April 24, 2014, file photo shows the ASUS All-in-One PC ET2322 desktop computer, in Decatur, Ga., which has a touch-sensitive, 23-inch display.

Japan's traditional PC market has recovered with healthy macroeconomics and an emerging PC refresh cycle particularly in commercial.