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PC shipments rise slightly in struggling market: IDC report

LiveMint logoLiveMint 12-04-2017 Brian Womack

San Francisco: Personal computer shipments notched their first quarterly growth in five years, researcher IDC said, though the gain of less than 1% from a year earlier underscored persistent weakness in demand, especially from consumers.

Shipments totalled 60.3 million units in the first three months of the year, compared with 59.9 million in the same period a year earlier, IDC said Tuesday in a statement.

It marked the first increase since the first quarter of 2012, IDC said.

Gartner Inc., another major tracker of PCs, reported a decline of 2.4% for first-quarter global shipments. Both research companies said the business market for PCs had improved though not enough to offset a decline in consumer customers.

Sales of desktop and laptop computers have been in decline as consumer demand shifted to smartphones and tablets for easily checking email or the internet on the go.

Now the industry is counting on more interest in its machines from businesses and consumers wanting to replace aging hardware with sleeker and more powerful products that feature upgraded software.

IDC and Gartner use their own methods for counting shipments in these reports, which are preliminary. Gartner, for example, includes desktops, notebooks and related devices such as Microsoft Corporation’s Surface, but not Google’s Chromebook. IDC includes Chromebooks, but not the Surface in this report, according to Jay Chou, research manager at IDC.

The major brands in the industry all posted market share gains.

HP retook the top spot with 22% in the first quarter, up from 19% a year earlier, IDC said. China-based Lenovo Group Ltd. posted a smaller uptick to 20.4% and Dell Technologies had 16%.

Apple rose to 7% from 6.7%.

Gartner puts Lenovo at number 1 with HP at number 2. Dell grabbed the number 3 spot, while Apple was number 5.

Prices are climbing as key memory components get more expensive amid a shortage in the industry, according to Mikako Kitagawa, an analyst at Gartner. This doesn’t bode well for PC makers.

“The price hike will suppress PC demand even further in the consumer market, discouraging buyers away from PC purchases unless it is absolutely necessary,” Kitagawa said in the statement. “The price hike started affecting the market in 1Q17.”

In the US, Gartner said shipments fell 2.4%, with consumer demand dragging down sales. HP was number 1 in the US market, while Dell was number 2. Apple was number 4. Bloomberg

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