Shipments of desktops, laptops, and workstation machines tallied in the tens of millions in the first quarter of 2018, though overall the market for new PCs was flat to start the year, according to the number crunching analysts at International Data Corporation. Overall, the market saw 60.4 million units shipped, which is virtually the same as the number of new PCs that entered the marketplace in the same quarter a year ago.
IDC lauded this as a good thing, saying that staying flat for the third consecutive quarter is a better proposition than the 1.5 percent decline it had previously forecast. And in that regard it is. However, research firm Gartner had a different take based on its own set of numbers. According to Gartner, shipments totaled 61.7 million units during Q1, marking a 1.4 percent decline year-over-year.
"The PC market experienced a 14th consecutive quarter of decline, dating back to the second quarter of 2012," Gartner said.
So, it's a tale of two market research firms, though both pegged the number of shipments at more than 60 million units. They both had HP leading, followed by Lenovo in second place and Dell in third, as it relates to market share. Going by IDC's numbers, HP shipped nearly 13.7 million PCs in the first quarter, compared to 13.1 million in the same quarter a year ago, and has a 22.6 percent share of the market. Gartner, meanwhile, recorded nearly 12.9 million new HP computers for a 20.8 percent share.
Dell and Lenovo also saw growth, though it was Dell that stood out from the crowd.
"The top three vendors—HP, Lenovo and Dell—accounted for 56.9 percent of global PC shipments in the first quarter of 2018, compared with 54.5 percent of shipments in the first quarter of 2017. Dell experienced the strongest growth rate among the top six vendors worldwide, as its shipments increased 6.5 percent," Gartner said.
IDC generally agreed, saying Dell posted the strongest year-on-year growth at 6.4 percent, "buoyed by strong performances in nearly every region."
According to Gartner, there was some inventory carryover from the fourth quarter of last year. In addition, vendors were cautious not to overstock on inventory, in anticipation of new processor models. Indeed, Intel recently launched new 6-core processors for laptops, and also added more Coffee Lake options for desktops. And going forward, AMD is about to launch its second generation Ryzen lineup. From our vantage point, it could be a busy year for OEMs, and PC shipments in general.