PC shipments declined in 2018 for 7th consecutive year

Q4 2018 PC shipments

According to Gartner, the PC sales industry was influenced negatively by two trends. Gartner's argument is that there's an overall shortage of processors on the market, which means customers could not meet business PC upgrade demands. The demand existed, the market research firm says, only that the said shortage "affected vendors' ability to fulfill demand created by business PC upgrades".

2018 marked the seventh consecutive year of worldwide PC shipment decline, Gartner noted.

According to the new report from Gartner, worldwide PC shipments totaled 68.6 million units in Q4 of 2018 which is a 4.3% decline from Q4 of 2017.

The New Year brought bad news for PC manufacturers as shipments dropped by 4.3% in Q4 of 2018 and 1.3% for the year.

Kitagawa added that the second and third quarters of 2018 both showed growth relative to 2017, and it was the fourth quarter decline that pulled 2018's sales below 2017's.

Political and economic uncertainties in some countries dampened PC demand. Lenovo also had a strong quarter in the US.

IDC's Asia/Pacific Client Devices Group Research Manager Maciek Gornicki separately highlights that the ongoing economic tensions between the United States and China are likely to create a lot of uncertainty in the business environment in China.

Apple's market share of 7.2 percent was a distant fourth, declining 3.8 percent on 4.9 million units shipped.

Only Lenovo, which moved ahead of HP to become the quarter's top vendor, and third place Dell showed growth compared to Q4 2017.

"While the processor supply challenges are expected to continue into the first two quarters of 2019, PC makers are likely to see the situation improve before the back-to-school season begins during the latter half of the year", IDC Senior Research Analyst Neha Mahajan said in a statement.

Additionally, Gartner reported that the top three PC vendors - Lenovo, HP, and Dell - accounted for 63% of all fourth quarter PC sales in 2018, up from 59% in 2017. "Holiday sales are no longer a major factor driving consumer demand for PCs".

IDC, which ranked the top four PC makers in the same order, recorded similar shipping and market share figures.

Gartner had more detailed results about the U.S. market, where Microsoft remains the top 5 PC manufacturer behind HP, Dell, Lenovo and Apple.

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