Worldwide personal computer (PC) shipments totaled 83.7 million units in the fourth quarter of 2014, a 1% increase from the fourth quarter of 2013, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. (www.gartner.com). These results indicate a slow, but consistent improvement following more than two years of decline.
“The PC market is quietly stabilizing after the installed base reduction driven by users diversifying their device portfolios. Installed base PC displacement by tablets peaked in 2013 and the first half of 2014. Now that tablets have mostly penetrated some key markets, consumer spending is slowly shifting back to PCs,” says Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner.
However, there are regional variations. Mostly, mature regions show an ongoing trend of positive growth, but emerging markets remain weak, Kitagawa said.
“The U.S. showed the highest growth in the fourth quarter of 2014. In EMEA [Europe, the Middle East, and Africa], the Western Europe PC market also showed good consumer sales. Emerging markets, on the other hand, still showed weak PC growth,” she added. “We attribute this weakness to a strong affinity for smartphones and tablets in those markets, while PCs are a low priority. Even low priced notebooks struggle to succeed, because of the different mobile device usage patterns.”
Lenovo held onto its position as the worldwide leader in PC shipments in the fourth quarter of 2014, with 19.4 percent of the market. Lenovo showed mixed results in the quarter with strong growth in EMEA and the U.S., but shipments declined in Latin America and Japan.
The share difference between Lenovo and HP narrowed in the fourth quarter of 2014 with HP growing 16% and garnering 18.8% of the market. HP has expressed its commitment to the device market, and it has started to show a positive result with strong growth in the U.S. HP’s growth in EMEA and Asia/Pacific also exceeded the regional average.
Dell continued to maintain the third position and accounted for 12.7% of the market. The fourth quarter 2014 results indicate that Dell’s expansion into the consumer market has been successful, which was the least focused market for the company prior to the leveraged buyout.
In the U.S., PC shipments totaled 18.1 million units in the fourth quarter of 2014, a 13.1 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2013. This is the fastest growth seen in the market in the last four years. HP showed the strongest growth among the top 5 vendors, as its shipments grew 26.2%, and it accounted for 29.2% of all shipments in the U.S. According to Gartner, Apple had 11.7% of the U.S. market compared to 11.9% in the year-ago quarter.
“The fourth quarter of 2014 was the best holiday for PC sales in recent history. The primary driver was mobile PCs including regular notebooks, thin and light notebooks and 2-1s. Low priced notebooks with about a $300-200 price point boosted shipments while thin/light notebooks and two-in-ones (laptops with a detachable or bendable screen) showed strong growth. These results supports our assumption that consumer spending is returning to the PC as tablet penetration has reached the majority of the market,” says Kitagawa.