PC shipments drop again, just as things were starting to look up

Q4 2018 PC shipments

Gartner: Not a very merry Christmas for PC market as chip shortage bites, small biz vanishes

According to Gartner numbers published today, vendors suffered a year-long decline of 1.3 per cent in shipments to 259.4 million units, and in the final quarter, shipments of 68.6 million units were down 4.3 per cent in what is supposed to be the busiest time of the year for sales. Both desktop and notebook shipments saw year-on-year declines in 4Q18. Lenovo, on the other hand, maintained its lead in the global PC market. The Japan region, however, helped all the major OEMs to mark growth.

The 4th quarter of 2018 was particularly weak compared to previous years, declining by 4.3% year on year to 68.6 million unit sales.

Apple's global market share fell during the fourth quarter when compared to the same period a year ago while its U.S. market share increased.

Apple remained in the fourth position with market share of 7.2% and year-on-year growth of -3.8%. Dell, sitting in third, also saw its shipments grow during the quarter. Asus shipments sank 10.7 percent to 4.211 million, while its market share declined to 6.1 percent from 6.6 percent.

Neha Mahajan, senior research analyst with IDC's Devices and Displays Group, said: "While the processor supply challenges are expected to continue into the first two quarters of 2019, PC makers are likely to see the situation improve before the back-to-school season begins during the latter half of the year".

The end of the processor shortage will likely help boost PC sales but any further escalation of the United States trade war against China could be devastating for the PC market.

Lenovo surpassed HP Inc. and moved into the No. 1 spot in the global PC market in the last quarter of 2018.

HP's PC market share declined 3.2 percent worldwide mostly due to a challenging quarter in the Americas. Finally, at Acer, shipments dropped 18.3 percent to 3.861 million, while its market share fell to 5.6 percent form 6.6 percent.

"Just when demand in the PC market started seeing positive results, a shortage of CPUs (central processing units) created supply chain issues", Kitagawa notes in the new report. Gartner noted that there was even uncertainty in the U.S., where the overall economy has been strong, among vulnerable buyer groups, such as SMBs. The PC industry is driven by consumer demand in the fourth quarter, but a rocky stock market and volatility hampered demand.

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