PC market had another bad year in 2018, but Lenovo bucked the trend

Worldwide PC shipments fell by 1.3% in 2018, and by a sharp 4.3% in the fourth quarter of the year, as the years-long pressure on the market continued unabated.

This according to the latest preliminary research from Gartner, which said on Friday that global PC shipments in the fourth quarter of last year totalled 68.6 million units. Full-year shipments were 259.4 million units. But the analyst firm struck a note of optimism, saying there are signs the market could be turning.

“Just when demand in the PC market started seeing positive results, a shortage of CPUs created supply-chain issues,” said senior principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa. “After two quarters of growth in the second and third quarters of 2018, PC shipments declined in the fourth quarter.”

The impact from the CPU shortage affected vendors’ ability to fulfil demand created by business PC upgrades, Kitagawa said. “We expect this demand will be pushed forward into 2019 if CPU availability improves.”

Political and economic uncertainties in some countries dampened PC demand, she said. Even in the US, where economic growth has been strong, small and medium businesses have cut back on PC spending.

Consumer demand remained weak in the holiday season, with holiday sales no longer a major factor driving consumer demand for PCs.

The top three vendors boosted their share of the global PC market as Lenovo, HP and Dell accounted for 63% of PC shipments in the fourth quarter of 2018, up from 59% in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Lenovo number one

Lenovo surpassed HP to move into the number one position in the global PC market in the fourth quarter of 2018. A major factor for Lenovo’s share gain was credited to a joint venture with Fujitsu formed in May 2018. Lenovo also had a strong quarter in the US. The company has recorded three consecutive quarters of double-digit year-over-year shipment growth, despite the stagnant overall market, Gartner said.

HP fared less well in the fourth quarter, experiencing a shipment decline after four consecutive quarters of growth. Dell registered growth as the company outperformed in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (Emea), and in Japan.

The top five vendors in the fourth quarter were Lenovo (24.2% market share; up 5.9% from the same quarter in 2017), HP (22.4%; down 4.4%), Dell (15.9%; up 1.4%), Apple (7.2%; down 3.8%), Asus (6.1%; down 10.7%) and Acer (5.6%; down 18.3%).

PC shipments in Emea totalled 20.9 million units in the fourth quarter of 2018, a 3.8% decline year over year.

Worldwide, the decline in PC shipments was the seventh consecutive year of negative growth, but 2018’s fall was less steep compared to the previous three years.  — © 2019 NewsCentral Media

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