The worldwide market for traditional PCs, inclusive of desktops, notebooks, and workstations, declined 3.0% year over year in the first quarter of 2019 (1Q19), according to preliminary results from International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker. Global shipments were above expectations, reaching 58.5 million during the quarter.
Although the shortage of Intel processors, mostly at the lower end, remained a factor in seeing a contraction in 1Q19, the market performed better than expected with most regions exceeding the forecast. Stronger than expected desktop shipments further boosted volume, coming on the heels of a tough previous quarter, (4Q18), which had lackluster consumer demand and desktop supply issues. Also, more PC brands turned to AMD chips. All of this, combined with firms rounding the last corner on its Windows 10 migration deployments, led to a shift in the market for traditional PCs toward more commercial and premium products.
“Desktop PCs were surprisingly resilient as the commercial segment helped drive a refresh during the quarter,” said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC’s Mobile Device Trackers. “Capitalizing on this refresh cycle, the top vendors — HP, Lenovo, and Dell — each increased their year-over-year volume and captured additional share in the desktop PC market.”
“The US market saw year-over-year volumes decline in notebooks as consumer demand softened during the quarter, offsetting the modest gains we saw in desktops,” said Tom Mainelli, group vice president for Devices at IDC. “Among the top US PC vendors, only Lenovo saw notebook growth from the same quarter a year ago. It represents a tough start to an important year as the industry marches toward the end of life for Microsoft’s Windows 7.”
The traditional PC market in AsiaPacific (excluding Japan) posted a single-digit decline, close to IDC’s forecast. Adverse economic conditions, weak consumer demand, and component shortages all had a negative impact on sell-in across the region. The market in India posted a decline on the back of further softness in consumer demand and channel overstock, while elections contributed to a delay in commercial projects. China came in above expectations as vendors pushed more inventory into the channels despite macroeconomic woes and trade tensions with the United States.
Despite a year-over-year decline of 0.8%, HP Inc. managed to regain the top position with 13.6 million traditional PCs shipped during the quarter. Japan was a particularly strong market for the company as it managed to record high double-digit growth during the quarter, largely due to the end of support for Windows 7.
Lenovo slipped into second place after two quarters in the top position. However, on a global basis, the company has maintained a consistent growth trajectory over the course of the past year. During the recent quarter, mature markets such as North America and Japan served as strongholds for the company.
Dell Technologies was in third place and managed to experience the strongest growth during the quarter. Similar to HP and Lenovo, Dell was able to capture a larger share of the desktop market. The vendor had sizable growth in Japan and Western Europe.
Apple saw a slight decline during the quarter with 4.1 million units shipped. Though the company refreshed some of its notebooks recently, the latest models have not been met with the greatest fanfare as reviews point to hardware issues that may affect sales in the coming months.
Acer Group rounded out the top 5 with 6.1% market share during the quarter. Like many others, Acer was challenged by Intel’s shortages though the company was able to sidestep the issue in a few cases by incorporating older CPUs from Intel into its Chromebooks. Both Chrome and gaming remain a focus for the company though the company struggles to maintain traction elsewhere.
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