New PC Sales Are On The Upswing For The First Time In 6 Years

Lenovo IdeaPad
Perhaps in a parallel universe, tablets rule the day and traditional PCs are now extinct. Not in this universe, though. Both Gartner and International Data Corporation (IDC) tallied more than 62.1 million worldwide PC shipments in the second quarter of 2018. Where the two differ is in the precise growth rate—Gartner says PC shipments are up 1.4 percent year-over-year, marking the first quarter of annual growth since Q1 2012, and IDC pegs it at 2.7 percent.

The exact number doesn't matter, it's the fact that PC shipments are on the rise that is interesting, and encouraging, especially in light of consumers increasingly using their smartphones for tasks that were once the exclusive domain of a PC.

"PC shipment growth in the second quarter of 2018 was driven by demand in the business market, which was offset by declining shipments in the consumer segment," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "In the consumer space, the fundamental market structure, due to changes on PC user behavior, still remains, and continues to impact market growth. Consumers are using their smartphones for even more daily tasks, such as checking social media, calendaring, banking and shopping, which is reducing the need for a consumer PC."

IDC was a little more upbeat on the consumer sector, noting that even though traditional PCs may not always be the default device for certain usage scenarios, "the market continues to show pockets of resiliency as PC usage experience evolves and improves." IDC also noted that certain types of desktops are seeing growth during what it dubbed a "business-driven refresh cycle." Well not spelled out specifically, we suspect that gaming PCs fall into that category.

"Results for the first half of 2018 have been encouraging for the US PC market despite market challenges that surfaced including expected slowdown of Chromebooks amid production inhibitors," said Neha Mahajan, senior research analyst, Devices & Displays. "And with sentiment looking improved for the second half of the year, the US could deliver a strong market performance for the year."

According to Gartner, Lenovo and HP are tied in market share at 21.9 percent each, followed by Dell at 16.8 percent, Apple at 7.1 percent, and Acer at 6.4 percent. IDC's lineup is similar, except it has HP (23.9 percent) slightly ahead of Lenovo (22.1 percent).

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Tags:  PC, computers, IDC, Gartner