PC shipments declined in 2018 for 7th consecutive year

Q4 2018 PC shipments

According to the market research company, worldwide PC shipments reached 68.1 million in Q4, a 3.7% decline year-on-year.

The recent rise in PC sales was shortlived, and figures for the fourth quarter of previous year show that we're back to our usual - either declining sales, or just being flat. The firm expects demand to pick up again in 2019 once CPUs become more readily available.

For the year, 2018 PC shipments surpassed 259.4 million units, a 1.3% decline from 2017.

Mikako Kitagawa, senior principal analyst at Gartner, believes the sluggish sales are a product of political and economic uncertainties around the world, combined with an ongoing CPU shortage.

The top three vendors boosted their share of the global PC market as Lenovo, HP and Dell accounted for 63% of PC shipments in the fourth quarter of 2018, up from 59% in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Despite the overall decline, the analysts said that there were at one point signs for optimism in 2018, but the industry was impacted by two important trends. But a volatile stock market and a post-Black Friday/Cyber Monday downturn saw "the lowest sequential growth for a holiday quarter since the fourth quarter of 2012". The company has recorded three consecutive quarters of double-digit year-over-year shipment growth, despite the stagnant overall market.

According to a quarterly report by IDC, traditional PC shipments, including desktop, notebook, and workstation, totalled just over 68.1 million units in the fourth quarter, a year-over-year decline of 3.7 percent.

This was due to a strong quarter in the United States for Lenovo, whereas HP suffered declines in shipments in most key regions - with Asia being the notable exception.

Acer Group took fifth place with market share of 6.7 percent and decline of 8.5 percent.

The end of the processor shortage will likely help boost PC sales but any further escalation of the U.S. trade war against China could be devastating for the PC market. "Holiday sales are no longer a major factor driving consumer demand for PCs". HP Inc's market share was unchanged at 22.4 percent, with shipments falling 4.4 percent to 15.380 million. Finally, at Acer, shipments dropped 18.3 percent to 3.861 million, while its market share fell to 5.6 percent form 6.6 percent.

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