The International Data Corporation (IDC) reported Tuesday that worldwide shipments of traditional personal computers (PCs) totaled 60.3 million units in the first quarter of 2017, posting year-over-year growth of 0.6 percent.
While the previous forecast had expected shipments to decline 1.8 percent in the quarter, the new IDC Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker quarterly figure represented the first PC shipment growth since the first quarter of 2012, when many users still considered PCs their first computing device.
The IDC category known as traditional PCs includes desktops, notebooks, workstations. “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 percent from a peak in 2011,” Jay Chou, research manager, IDC PCD Tracker, was quoted as saying in a news release.
“Nevertheless, users have generally delayed PC replacements rather than giving up PCs for other devices,” Chou said. “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.”
IDC, as a marketing consultant business based in San Mateo, Northern California, also attributed the shipment growth partly to the global PC market that continued along a path of stabilization since the latter half of 2016, especially as more commercial projects moved out of pilot mode, and to the tight supplies of some key components in the same timeframe that led a number of vendors to boost shipments to lock in supply ahead of further cost increases.
From a geographic perspective, IDC said, mature markets again outdid emerging markets. All regions exceeded forecast except for the United States, although the U.S. posted just a slight decline. Despite the generally positive trends, Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) and Latin America continued to see year-over-year volume declines.
“The U.S. PC market had a weak opening quarter for the year with the consumer PC segment failing to impress after doing fairly well in the previous quarter,” said Neha Mahajan, senior research analyst, Devices & Displays. “Apart from factors such as relatively improved commercial PC performance as well as a few component shortages, which continued to add to a better inventory situation, the overall PC performance for the quarter remained fairly sublime.”
Among vendors, HP Inc. took back the top spot for the first time since the first quarter of 2013 after several quarters inching closer to Lenovo; Lenovo held the second position with relative modest growth of 1.7 percent globally; Dell captured the third position, grew 6.2 percent year over year; Apple kept the fourth position and grew 4.1 percent; and Acer regained the fifth position, growing 2.9 percent.