Research firms IDC and Gartner published their latest reports about the PC market. The latter reports global PC sales fell for the sixth straight year in 2017, down 2.8 percent year-over-year to 262.5 million units. Gartner writes fourth-quarter sales were down 2 percent to 71.6 million units, marking the 13th consecutive quarter of dropping PC sales.
"In the fourth quarter of 2017, there was PC shipment growth in Asia/Pacific, Japan and Latin America. There was only a moderate shipment decline in EMEA," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "However, the U.S. market saw a steep decline, which offset the generally positive results in other regions.
"The fourth quarter results confirmed again that PCs are no longer popular holiday gift items. This does not mean that PCs will disappear from households," Kitagawa said. "Rather, the PC will become a more specialized, purpose-driven device. PC buyers will look for quality and functionality rather than looking for the lowest price, which will increase PC average selling prices (ASPs) and improve profitability in the long run. However, until this point is reached, the market will have to go through the shrinking phase caused by fewer PC users."
Gartner identifies HP as the largest PC builder, with a marketshare of 22.5 percent, up from 20.7 percent the year before. Lenovo is the second largest with 22.0 percent share, up from 21.7 percent in 2016, while Dell remains third with 15.2 percent, up from 14.7 percent. Apple is fourth with 7.6 percent, and ASUS and Acer share the fifth spot with each accounting for about 6.6 percent of global sales.
Interestingly, IDC reports something different. This research agency found global PC sales were up 0.7 percent year-over-year to 70.6 million units. IDC says the market looks weak but somewhat recovering.
Worldwide shipments of traditional PCs (desktop, notebook, and workstation) totaled 70.6 million units in the fourth quarter of 2017 (4Q17), recording slightly positive (0.7%) year-on-year growth, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker. The results outperformed the forecast of a 1.7% decline in shipments during the quarter.
The 4Q17 results further validate the view of a steadying, albeit still weak, traditional PC market, buoyed mainly by commercial upgrades and pockets of improving consumer PC demand. 2017 ended with an annual shipment volume of 259.5 million units, which represents a year-over-year decline of 0.2%. This makes 2017 the most stable year the market has seen since 2011.
IDC's list of the top PC shippers looks similar to the one from Gartner. The percentages are a little different but the market positions are the same.