For the first time since 2011, sales of PCs are growing again. Both IDC and Gartner report the PC market saw modest growth in 2019. The figures from Gartner reveal 2019 sales increased 0.6 percent to 261 million units, with Q4 2019 showing a 2.3 percent growth to 70.6 million units. The growth is driven by strong business PC demand:
“The PC market experienced growth for the first time since 2011, driven by vibrant business demand for Windows 10 upgrades, particularly in the U.S., EMEA and Japan,” said Mikako Kitagawa, senior principal analyst at Gartner. “We expect this growth to continue through this year even after Windows 7 support comes to an end this month, as many businesses in emerging regions such as China, Eurasia and the emerging Asia/Pacific have not yet upgraded.”
“Contrasted against the ongoing weakness in consumer PC demand, business PC demand has led to unit growth in five of the last seven quarters,” said Ms. Kitagawa. “The ongoing Intel CPU shortage, which began mid-last year, became a major issue again on PC delivery to enterprise customers by the top three vendors. Without this shortage, shipments would have grown faster than the reported results.”
IDC also posted its PC market report and concludes sales grew 2.7 percent in 2019 to just under 71.8 million units, with Q4 2019 posting 4.8 percent year-over-year growth.
"This past year was a wild one in the PC world, which resulted in impressive market growth that ultimately ended seven consecutive years of market contraction," said Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers. "The market will still have its challenges ahead, but this year was a clear sign that PC demand is still there despite the continued insurgence of emerging form factors and the demand for mobile computing."
The holiday quarter capped an impressive run for PCs in 2019, where three out of four quarters delivered year-over-year growth. The storyline in the commercial sector for most of the year was around the momentum driven by businesses transitioning PCs over to Windows 10 before the end of support for Windows 7 arrives in January 2020. The continued business push specifically helped the top 3 players – Lenovo, HP, and Dell – to further consolidate their hold on the market with a combined share of just over 65% in 2019 (up from 63% in 2018). In addition, the impact of several other market challenges declined in the quarter. Concerns about CPU availability continued but were helped by the adoption of AMD CPUs while signs of easing trade tensions and other industry drivers helped to increase market uptake for the most important quarter of the year.
Both research firms agree Lenovo, HP, Dell and Apple were the top four PC makers in terms of unit shipments (in that order) in Q4 2019. Gartner places ASUS on the fifth spot and Acer on the sixth spot, while IDC believes the top five spot belongs to Acer.