Twelfth straight quarter of weaker computer sales

Twelfth straight quarter of weaker computer sales

Lenovo's U.S. PC shipments fell more than 25 percent in the third quarter, the steepest year-over-year decline since its 2005 acquisition of IBM's PC business, Gartner said. The slight reduction is better than the 1.4-percent drop IDC previously projected and represents a wider trend of market stabilization, according to the company.

The PC market has been in gradual, continuous decline for several years. "Despite the overall contraction, Chromebooks remain a source of optimism as the category gains momentum in sectors outside education, especially in retail and financial services".

HP led the market, with 15.3 million shipments and a 22.8 percent market share.

While HP Inc and Lenovo shipped nearly the same number of units during the quarter. HP appears to be the exception to that as the company has actually seen a growth of 4.4% compared to the previous year.

Gartner principal analyst Mika Kitagawa said that while there were signs the PC industry was stablilising in regions like EMEA, Japan and Latin America, these were offset by the United States market, which experienced a 10% year-over-year decline, partly because of a very weak sales during the back-to-school season.

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Lenovo "continued to struggle in North America", according to a news release, "with weak notebook sales, but also seemed to have slowed its recent decline in Asia/Pacific". In Asia/Pacific, PC shipments reached 24 million units in the third quarter of 2017, down 2.1% on same quarter a year ago. It is the third straight year of dwindling sales, according to research firm Gartner.

Lenovo acknowledged recently that increasing memory and component costs had prompted it to adjust PC distribution pricing and cut back-end rebates in an attempt to keep prices stable for commercial customers and drive partners to sell more profitable, higher-end machines. Note that for Apple, the drop in sales (-5.6 per cent) was greater than the market average.

Shipping 1.9 million units in the USA during the quarter was enough to give Apple a 12.8 percent share of the market and propel it beyond Lenovo, which shipped 1.8 million units, Gartner said.

HP Inc saw growth in all key regions except in the USA market. The outlook for the fourth quarter remains cautious, likely with a small decline in volume for the quarter and the year.

It is unclear if shipments will continue to decline for Apple or if things will eventually pick up, so we'll just have to wait and see.

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