Worldwide shipments of traditional PCs (desktop, notebook, workstation) totalled 60,3-million units in the first quarter of 2017 (1Q17), posting year-over-year growth of 0,6%, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker.
The previous forecast had expected shipments to decline 1,8% in the quarter. And, while the 0,6% growth was arguably flat, the result nonetheless represented the first foray back into positive territory since Q1 2012, when many users still considered PCs their first computing device.
Like the second half of 2016, some of the same forces continue to shape the market. Tight supplies of key components such as NAND and DRAM are affecting inventory dynamics and led a number of vendors to boost shipments to lock in supply ahead of further cost increases.
In addition, the market continued along a path of stabilisation that began in the latter half of last year, especially as more commercial projects moved out of pilot mode and began shipments in earnest.
From a geographic perspective, mature markets again outdid emerging markets. All regions exceeded forecast except for the US, although the US posted just a slight decline. Despite the generally positive trends, Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan)(APeJ) and Latin America continued to see year-over-year volume declines.
“The traditional PC market has been through a tough phase, with competition from tablets and smartphones as well as lengthening lifecycles pushing PC shipments down roughly 30% from a peak in 2011,” says Jay Chou, research manager, IDC PCD Tracker. “Nevertheless, users have generally delayed PC replacements rather than giving up PCs for other devices. The commercial market is beginning a replacement cycle that should drive growth throughout the forecast.
“Consumer demand will remain under pressure, although growth in segments like PC Gaming as well as rising saturation of tablets and smartphones will move the consumer market toward stabilisation as well.”
“The US PC market had a weak opening quarter for the year with the consumer PC segment failing to impress after doing fairly well in the previous quarter,” says Neha Mahajan, senior research analyst, Devices & Displays. “Apart from factors such as relatively improved commercial PC performance as well as a few component shortages, which continued to add to a better inventory situation, the overall PC performance for the quarter remained fairly sublime.”
The EMEA traditional PC market stabilised for the second consecutive quarter, thanks to strong notebook performance. The combination of backlogs, fulfilment from previous quarters, and solid mobility demand in enterprises boosted overall notebook shipments in 1Q17. However, desktops continued to erode, in line with expectations.
HP Inc took back the top spot for the first time since Q1 2013 after several quarters inching closer to Lenovo. The vendor has focused on building out a deep portfolio and saw a strong quarter in notebooks across all regions.
Lenovo held the second position with relative modest growth of 1,7% globally. Lenovo had its first decline in the US since Q3 2009, down 4,2% year over year.
Dell captured the third position, grew 6,2% year over year, and continued its positive growth in every region with strong notebook volume. Dell posted growth in all markets, although the U.S. slowed relative to others.
Apple kept the fourth position and grew 4,1% year over year.
Acer regained the fifth position, growing 2,9% in part due to better comparisons against a challenging 1Q16.