Worldwide shipments of traditional PCs (desktop, notebook, workstation) totaled 60.3 million units in the first quarter of 2017 (1Q17), posting year-over-year growth of 0.6%, according to research firm IDC.
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 stabilization 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 United States, 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,” said Jay Chou, research manager at IDC.
“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 stabilization as well.”
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 US 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.