PC market saw first holiday quarter growth in six years, IDC says

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In Europe, the United Kingdom was blamed by Gartner for contributing to a year-on-year shipment decline of 1.4 percent, down to 21.8 million.

Topping the list of PC shipments in 2017 were HP (58,800 shipments), Lenovo (54,857), Dell (41,821), Apple (19,661), Acer Group (17,564), and ASUS (17,109). Unlike IDC, Gartner said Q4 2017 marked the thirteenth consecutive quarterly decline for the PC market.

Market watchers IDC and Gartner have made differing claims on the state of the PC market in Q4 last year, with IDC celebrating the first Q4 of growth in six years and Gartner claiming the PC market continues to slump.

According to a new report from market tracker IDC, shipments of new PCs rose in Q4 2017 by 0.7% from Q4 of 2016, beating the forecast of a decline of 1.7%.

'In the fourth quarter of 2017, there was PC shipment growth in Asia/Pacific, Japan and Latin America.

However, while Gartner posted higher shipment figures of 71.6 million units, they noted a year-on-year market decline of 2%. "However, the growing popularity of other mobile form factors continued to have a dampening effect and led the overall U.S. PC market to perform below expectations".

In the third quarter of 2017, HP Inc. had 21.8 per cent market share while Lenovo registered 21.4 per cent in terms of PC shipments. The consumer market stabilized thanks to online promotions in many countries, which drove demand for gaming PCs and thin and light notebooks.

The PC market is beginning to show some signs of stabling, with traditional PC shipments recording a slightly positive 0.7 percent year-over-year growth worldwide in Q4 2017 and total year-over-year decline of 0.2 percent in full year 2017, according to research released by IDC.

In the U.S. market, IDC reported the overall PC market performed below expectations in the Q4 2017, with a drop in notebook and desktop sales.

"The fourth quarter results showed some potentially encouraging headway against the hard environment in retail and consumer PCs", Jay Chou, research manager with IDC's Personal Computing Device Tracker, said in a press release.

According to IDC, market demand was driven by a desire from PC suppliers to snap up machines before components shortages drive up prices further.

Both analysts record steady growth for HPI, with Q4 shipment growth of 8.3% year-on-year according to IDC, and 6.6% according to Gartner. This will increase PC average selling prices (ASPs) and help profitability in the long run. Lenovo was still second in shipments, but saw minimal growth in Q4, while actual declining year over year.

"However, until this point is reached, the market will have to go through the shrinking phase caused by fewer PC users", Kitagawa concludes.

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