Hardware

Rebirth of the PC market? Holiday shipments grow for first time in 6 years

Worldwide shipments of desktops, notebooks, and workstations hit nearly 260 million units in 2017, the market's most stable year since 2011, according to IDC.

Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • Worldwide shipments of PCs including desktops, notebooks, and workstations totalled 70.6 million in Q4 2017, a 0.7% YOY increase—outperforming the forecast of a 1.7% decline. —IDC, 2018
  • PC shipments reached nearly 260 million in 2017, representing a YOY decline of 0.2% and the most stable year for the market since 2011.—IDC, 2018

The PC market may finally be stabilizing after years of decline: In Q4 2017, worldwide shipments of PCs such as desktops, notebooks, and workstations increased 0.7% YOY, hitting 70.6 million units, according to a new report from IDC. The group had initially forecast a 1.7% decline for the quarter.

This growth indicates that the PC market may be steadying, though it is still weak, according to IDC. But commercial upgrades and improving consumer PC demand is driving growth. For example, at CES 2018, HP, Lenovo, and Dell all announced new PC models with features such as Amazon Alexa integration, enhanced battery life, and LTE connectivity, as reported by our sister site ZDNet.

Premium laptops and 2-in-1 devices were also common at the show this year, indicating that companies are indeed returning their energy to the notebook market to appeal to professionals, and expanding their slim, convertible, and gaming system offerings, as IDC noted in the report.

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"The fourth quarter results showed some potentially encouraging headway against the difficult environment in retail and consumer PCs," Jay Chou, research manager with IDC's Personal Computing Device Tracker, said in a press release. "Enticed by a growing array of products that promise all-day battery life, high portability, and address emerging use cases that require more compute power, pockets of the consumer base are taking a serious look at these revamped PCs. However, the overall PC market remains a challenging one."

However, none of these tech giants released standalone tablets at CES this year, ZDNet noted. This suggests that the tablet market is continuing its "spiraling decline," outside of Apple and a couple others, according to a previous IDC report.

Overall, 2017 saw 259.5 million PC units shipped—a year-over-year decline of 0.2%, but steady demand nonetheless—that made it the most stable year for the market since 2011, IDC noted. A shortage of components such as SSDs also helped drive PC sales in 2017, as top companies competed to lock in supplies ahead of price increases, IDC said in the report.

Topping the list of PC shipments in 2017 were HP (58,800 shipments), Lenovo (54,857), Dell (41,821), Apple (19,661), Acer Group (17,564), and ASUS (17,109). All other vendors accounted for the remaining 49,716 shipments.

In terms of geography, the Asia/Pacific and Latin America regions saw positive growth for PC shipments in 2017, while Europe, the Middle East, and Africa held steady, and the US saw declines, according to the report.

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Image: iStockphoto/anyaberkut

About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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