Inventory and Processor Supply Issues Weigh Against Holiday PC Shipments

Gladys Abbott
January 13, 2019

Despite showing growth in the second and third quarters, Gartner said 2018 was the seventh year PC shipments experienced annual declines, though the 1.3 percent fall to 259 million units wasn't as bad as the previous three years.

Just when the PC market found its footing the USA trade war with China and processor shortages put the kibosh on unit sales, according to stats from both IDC and Gartner.

The recent rise in PC sales was shortlived, and figures for the fourth quarter of past year show that we're back to our usual - either declining sales, or just being flat. Gartner expects demand to improve in 2019 as CPUs become more available.

For the holiday period, Gartner has worldwide PC shipments at 68.6 million units, down 4.3 percent YoY.

"Political and economic uncertainties in some countries dampened PC demand", Kitagawa said.

A major factor for Lenovo's share gain was credited to a joint venture with Fujitsu formed in May 2018.

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Lenovo with a PC market share of 24.2 percent, HP Inc with 22.4 percent, Dell with 15.9 percent, Apple with 7.2 percent, Asus with 6.1 percent and Acer with 5.6 percent are the top PC makers in the world.

This was due to a strong quarter in the United States for Lenovo, whereas HP suffered declines in shipments in most key regions - with Asia being the notable exception.

Mac shipments themselves declined 3.8 percents over Q4 and declined 2.1 percent over the year. The company has recorded three consecutive quarters of double-digit year-over-year shipment growth, despite the stagnant overall market. The results slightly outperformed the forecast, which called for a decline of 4.7%, but also produced the largest year-on-year decline since the third quarter of 2016 (3Q16) and capped the full year at a almost flat rate of -0.4%.

"The majority of the PC shipment decline in 2018 was due to weak consumer PC shipments". The company is followed by HP with 23.6 per cent share, and Dell, with 16.5 per cent. Moreover, Acer took fifth place with a market share of 6.7 percent and a year-over-year decline of 8.5 percent.

Nonetheless, the market performed better than expected, with corporate PC refresh-driven by the looming Windows 7 end of life (EOL) in January 2020-helping to offset consumer market challenges.

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