PC Shipments Continue to Decline, 1Q18 Market Reports Reveal

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PC Shipments Continue to Decline, 1Q18 Market Reports Reveal

The PC market is in trouble. And there are signs that things won’t get better anytime soon. Those are the main takeaways from industry reports released on April 11 by research firms Gartner and IDC that examined the PC market in the first quarter of 2018. According to the reports, the PC market saw shipments decline in the first quarter of the year, due in large part to softness in China and consumer concerns with higher average selling prices. And although some companies, like Apple and Dell, saw shipments soar during the period, others watched demand for their computers fall precipitously. Data from IDC and Gartner also suggests that the companies at the top of the market—HP, Dell and Lenovo—continue to consolidate their power. This slide show takes a closer look at what the reports found.

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Worldwide Q1 PC Shipments Disappoint

Overall, the global PC market had a rough first quarter of the year. According to Gartner, total shipments hit 61.7 million units, a 1.4 percent decline from the 62.6 million units shipped in the year-ago quarter. IDC, which analyzes the market differently and therefore has different figures at times, said the market was static, with 60.4 million units shipped—down just a touch from the first quarter of 2017.

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How PC Vendors Fared in the U.S.

Moving to the U.S., IDC reported that total PC shipments reached 13.5 million units, with “almost all major vendors” reporting increasing shipments. Gartner, however, said that the U.S. market was off 2.9 percent on shipments of 11.8 million units. Most of its vendor checks showed year-over-year declines.

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HP Remains on Top

Any way you slice it, HP was the top PC vendor in the first quarter of the year. The company’s worldwide shipments hit 12.9 million units, up 2.8 percent compared with the same period in 2017—earning it 20.8 percent market share. IDC’s data showed that HP shipped a total of 13.7 million PCs during the period and boasted a 22.6 percent market share. Its shipments were up 4.3 percent year-over-year.

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Lenovo Takes the Second Spot

Lenovo took the second spot in both IDC’s and Gartner’s look at the PC market. According to IDC, Lenovo captured 20.4 percent market share on 12.3 million units shipped—nearly the same number of units it shipped in 2017. Gartner also reported 12.3 million units shipped by Lenovo during the first quarter, earning the company a 0.3 percent growth rate. Lenovo’s market share stood at 20 percent in the Gartner report.

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Dell Also Boasts Impressive Numbers

Dell shipped 9.9 million units during the first quarter, earning the company 16 percent market share, according to Gartner. Its year-over-year shipments were up a whopping 6.5 percent in the study. IDC, meanwhile, said Dell shipped 10.2 million units to capture 16.9 percent of the PC market. IDC said Dell’s shipments were up 6.4 percent year over year.

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Apple Comes on Strong—Maybe?

There’s some disagreement over Apple’s performance during the first quarter. According to IDC, Apple shipped 4 million units for 6.6 percent market share. Those shipments were down 4.8 percent year-over-year in the researcher’s findings. Gartner, however, said Apple actually shipped 4.3 million units for a 6.9 percent share. Its data finds Apple’s shipments were up 1.5 percent year over year. Apple will ultimately break the tie on this one when it announces its earnings in May and reveals Mac shipments.

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Acer Keeps Pace

Acer shipped 3.8 million units during the first quarter, representing an 8.6 percent year-over-year decline and earning the company 6.2 percent market share, according to Gartner’s data. IDC said that Acer shipped 4.1 million units for a 6.8 percent share. The researcher said Acer’s shipments were off 7.7 percent compared with the prior year.

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Disappointing Asus Performance

Asus suffered the worst performance of any PC vendor during the first quarter. Gartner said the company shipped 3.9 million units for 6.3 percent, but those shipments were down 12.5 percent compared with the prior year. IDC, meanwhile, said Asus’ performance was so bad, it lost its standing in the top five, relegating it to the “Others” category.

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Average Selling Prices Are Rising

According to Gartner, PC vendors are charging more for their computers. The researcher reported that costs for DRAM have jumped and instead of swallowing that and taking a hit to their margins, PC vendors are instead passing on the cost hikes to consumers. To overcome the challenges of increasing prices, the PC vendors are trying to focus more on “customer experience or perception of value,” according to Gartner.

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There Are Problems in China

In the first quarter, China market—an important one for nearly all PC vendors—suffered contraction, Gartner revealed. Total shipments during the period were down 5.7 percent compared with 2017, due to state-owned and other large companies putting off their purchases.

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