PCs were more and less expensive in Q1 as shipments stalled

HP and Lenovo are kings of the ever-shrinking hills, but Dell’s made a move

PC shipments continue their slow slide, with analyst firms Gartner and IDC both releasing data for 2018’s first quarter showing further slippage.

IDC counted 60.383 million PCs heading out of factory doors around the world, down just 14,000 from Q1 2017’s 60.397 million and an assessment of “flat” sales.

Gartner’s count recorded 61.686 million shipments, a -1.4 per cent drop on Q1 2017’s figure of 62,569.

Both firms have HP Inc as the planet’s PC paragon, with the company growing its market share by 2.8 per cent according to Gartner and a tick over four points according to IDC. Lenovo is in second, but posted only anaemic growth. Dell hit 6.5 per cent growth according to Gartner and 6.4 per cent on IDC’s spreadsheets.

Apple, ASUS and Acer are duelling for fourth to sixth places, with market shares of around six per cent apiece

While the two firms were very close in their assessments of shipments and market share, they differed in other analyses. Gartner said component prices continue to be a worry, with Gartner suggesting shortages and manufacturers attempts to pack more kit into computers to make them more attractive together “create an environment conductive to higher prices.” IDC said “improved supply of key notebook components also loosened pressures on both supply and pricing, leading to some recovery of share for the smaller vendors.”

IDC says US shipments grew, Gartner says they fell.

Both say Europe grew nicely, with Gartner suggesting GDPR sparked upgrades. There’s also agreement that the gaming market is growing nicely.

Gartner felt it worth noting that it found “no significant sign of strong upgrading to the special version of Windows 10 from the Chinese government institutions.”

PCs remain very useful, but they mostly contain no moving parts so are more durable than their predecessors. Recent CPUs and storage can handle most workloads with aplomb. Slipping shipments therefore indicate slower replacement cycles and the fact that buyers now have a choice of smartphones, phablets, tablets and detachables for their computing needs. ®

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