Worldwide PC shipments totalled 67,2-million units in the third quarter of 2018, a 0,1% increase from the third quarter of 2017, according to preliminary results by Gartner.

The latest figures mean the global market has shown modest stability for two consecutive quarters.

EMEA, Asia/Pacific and Japan experienced growth in the third quarter of 2018, while the US and Latin America declined. Latin America showed the steepest decline of 8,5% after showing some stabilisation earlier in 2018. However, these results are in line with Gartner’s expectations in view of CPU supply constraints for the rest of the year.

“The PC market continued to be driven by steady corporate PC demand, which was driven by Windows 10 PC hardware upgrades. We expect the Windows 10 upgrade cycle to continue through 2020 at which point the upgrade demand will diminish,” says Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. “Despite the third quarter typically showing strong consumer PC sales due to the back-to-school season, weakness in consumer PC demand continued, offsetting the strong sales in the business market.

“Although the third-quarter results did not show any material impact, the Intel CPU shortage could influence the PC market moving forward with price increases and changes to the vendor landscape. While this shortage will have some short-term impacts, Gartner does not see any lasting impact on overall PC demand. Current expectation is that the shortage will continue into 2019, but Intel will prioritise the high-end CPU as well as the CPUs for business PCs. In the meantime, AMD will pick up the part of the market where Intel cannot supply CPUs.”

Lenovo secured the top spot in the worldwide PC market with growth of 10,7%, driven by regained traction in the commercial market and its joint venture with Fujitsu. HP Inc. dropped to the second position, but recorded its fourth consecutive quarter of year-over-year shipment growth. HP showed strong desktop shipment growth, which indicated strong demand among corporate buyers.

Dell experienced its 10th consecutive quarter of shipment growth, with growth of 5,3% in the third quarter of 2018. Dell did well in EMEA, Asia/Pacific and Japan, showing growth in both desktop and mobile PCs in these regions. However, Dell’s shipments declined in Latin America and the US due to the weakness in the mobile PC market.

In the US PC market, shipments declined 0,4% compared with the third quarter of 2017. While desktop shipments were flat, mobile PC shipments slightly declined compared with a year ago. The major driver of the market continued to be business PC demand. “The third-quarter results confirmed the continuous shift to Chromebooks among US K-12 educational institutions. While PCs are still the main device for higher education students, most students already have PCs before they head off to college, so there is limited demand for new PCs from back-to-school sales. Overall, Chromebooks experienced double-digit growth in the US, but Chromebooks are not included in the PC market statistics,” says Kitagawa.

HP Inc. continued to be the market leader in the US with 30,7% of the market. Despite experiencing a decline of 0,8%, Dell remained in the No. 2 position. Dell may have been impacted by the weakness in mobile PC demand in the US due to its specific target of the high-end consumer market, including gaming.

PC shipments in EMEA reached 18,9-million units in the third quarter of 2018, a 1,1% increase year over year. Consumer PC demand overall continued to decline, while sales of business PCs remained the one thing sustaining the market. However, demand driven by Windows 10 upgrades in Western Europe is expected to slow going forward.

PC shipments in Asia/Pacific totalled 24,3-million units, a 0,3% increase from the third quarter of 2017. PC demand from the commercial segment buoyed the market. Though the consumer segment continued to be challenging in terms of unit sales, demand remained at the midrange to premium price points, signalling purchases from consumers who look for features, functions and quality built for specific needs. Shipments in China grew 0,8% in the third quarter of 2018, showing a continued gradual recovery from a steady decline over the past few quarters.