Global PC shipments resume slide in fourth quarter

Gartner: Not a very merry Christmas for PC market as chip shortage bites, small biz vanishes

According to Gartner, the PC sales industry was influenced negatively by two trends.

Just when the PC market found its footing the US trade war with China and processor shortages put the kibosh on unit sales, according to stats from both IDC and Gartner. The demand existed, the market research firm says, only that the said shortage "affected vendors' ability to fulfill demand created by business PC upgrades".

It's not the largest drop around, but it once again paints a rather lacklustre picture for the PC market, which a year ago actually looked like it was picking up a bit after quarters upon quarters of declining shipments.

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.

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The ongoing tussle between the United States and China isn't just impacting the growth of iPhone models but also adversely affecting PC shipments globally in the fourth quarter of 2018. While IDC shows that the worldwide PC shipments outperformed the forecast of 4.7 percent decline by showing a fall of 3.7 percent year-over-year, Gartner highlights that there was a dip of 4.3 percent from the fourth quarter of 2017. Gartner expects demand to improve in 2019 as CPUs become more available. Lenovo also had a strong quarter in the US.

Apple's market share of 7.2 percent was a distant fourth, declining 3.8 percent on 4.9 million units shipped. The company has recorded three consecutive quarters of double-digit year-over-year shipment growth, despite the stagnant overall market. HP came on second with 22.4% of the market and was followed by Dell at 15.9% market share.

"There was even uncertainty in the U.S. - where the overall economy has been strong - among vulnerable buyer groups, such as small and midsize businesses (SMBs)".

"The majority of the PC shipment decline in 2018 was due to weak consumer PC shipments". "The market stabilization in 2018 was attributed to consistent business PC growth, driven by Windows 10 upgrade". The research firm highlights that Lenovo led the market in the quarter with a market share of 24.2 percent, showing a 5.9 percent increase year-over-year.

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