Global PC shipments resume slide in fourth quarter

Global PC shipments resume slide in fourth quarter

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.

"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.

Gartner reports that worldwide PC shipments totaled 259.4 million units in 2018 - a 1.3% decline from 2017. "After two quarters of growth in 2Q18 and 3Q18, PC shipments declined in the fourth quarter", said Mikako Kitagawa, senior principal analyst at Gartner.

"The impact from the CPU shortage affected vendors' ability to fulfil demand created by business PC upgrades".

American PC shipments fared worse than the global market, shedding 4.5 per cent year-on-year in Q4 to 14.2 million units.

Also weighing on the market were political and economic uncertainties among small- and midsize businesses. There was even uncertainty in the US - where the overall economy has been strong - among vulnerable buyer groups, such as small and midsize businesses (SMBs). The PC industry is driven by consumer demand in the fourth quarter, but a rocky stock market and volatility hampered demand.

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After losing ground in the smartphone market due to the slower demand for the iPhone, Apple is now declining in the PC market as well, with MacBook sales dropping no less than 3.8% in Q4 2018. Apple was in a distant fourth position, followed by Asus and Acer.

A major factor for Lenovo's share gain was credited to a joint venture with Fujitsu formed in May 2018. However, Lenovo, HP, and Dell enjoyed shipment growth over the year at the expense of all the other manufacturers.

This was the 7th consecutive yearly decline in worldwide PC shipments, although Gartner added that the decline was less steep than the previous three years.

"The majority of the PC shipment decline in 2018 was due to weak consumer PC shipments".

In the US, HP was the top vendor for 4Q18, taking 33.4% market share.

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