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PC shipments down further in Q1

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Worldwide PC shipments totalled 71,7-million units in the first quarter of 2015, a 5,2% decline from the first quarter of 2014, according to preliminary results by Gartner.

“The PC industry received a boost in 2014 as many companies replaced their PCs due to the end of Windows XP support, but that replacement cycle faded in the first quarter of 2015,” says Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner.

“However, this decline is not necessarily a sign of sluggish overall PC sales long term. Mobile PCs, including notebooks, hybrid and Windows tablets, grew compared with a year ago. The first quarter results support our projection of a moderate decline of PC shipments in 2015, which will lead to a slow, consistent growth stage for the next five years.

“Desk-based PC shipments declined rapidly, with business desk-based PCs being impacted the most. Mobile PCs are being driven by a separate underlying replacement cycle, which led to growth in the first quarter. PC replacements will be driven by thin and light notebooks with tablet functionality. Our early study suggests strong growth of hybrid notebooks, especially in mature markets, in the first quarter of 2015,” says Kitagawa.

Lenovo and HP were the only two vendors among the top five worldwide that experienced an increase in PC shipments in the first quarter of 2015. Lenovo experienced its strongest growth in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and the US.

It has become one of the top providers of hybrid notebooks, especially its Yoga line in mature markets. HP performed moderately well in the first quarter, and it kept its top position in the US and EMEA. HP increased share in the US, but in EMEA the share delta from Lenovo, the second-largest vendor in the region, narrowed compared with last quarter.

For the first time in six quarters, Dell experienced a worldwide PC shipment decline compared with a year ago. Dell was one of the vendors that benefited from replacement purchases due to the end of Windows XP support in 2014, but sales slowed as the replacement cycle faded.

PC shipments in EMEA totalled 21,7-million units in the first quarter of 2015, a decline of 4,4% from the same period last year. This was the first quarter of decline after four consecutive quarters of growth in 2014.

“A bright spot of the market was the strong performance of hybrid notebooks, which led to growth in consumer mobile PCs,” says Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner. “There were, however, some concerns about inventory build-up as vendors shipped high volumes of Bing notebooks into the channel in the fourth quarter of 2014. This eased as the quarter ended.”

Desk-based PC shipments declined rapidly as the impact of the Windows XP upgrade cycle continued to diminish.

As a result, PC shipment growth stumbled, and the fall was steeper than what the market would usually experience between the fourth and first quarters.

“There was, however, a lot of variation between countries in EMEA,” says Isabelle Durand, principal research analyst at Gartner. “In the first quarter of 2015, Germany was weak compared to last year’s when growth was boosted by commercial desktop sales due to Windows XP migrations.”

Southern European countries such as Spain, Italy and France, showed solid Bing notebook growth.

Average selling prices for PCs across the distribution in euro-zone countries increased marginally in the first quarter of 2015 from the previous quarter. This increase resulted from the rise of prices by vendors to offset the impact of the euro/dollar exchange rate pressures.

“We can expect a bigger currency impact in the second quarter of 2015 with professional PC prices expected to increase more than in the consumer PC market. In the consumer market, manufacturers will lower the specifications of PCs to keep their prices competitive,” says Atwal.

HP retained the number one position in EMEA with strong notebook PC growth. Lenovo – the only vendor to show double-digit growth held the number two position with strong performance in the consumer PC market, at the expense of Acer and Asus. The decline in Dell’s PC shipments was attributed to the challenging professional desk-based PC market in the first quarter of 2015.