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According to a new report by research firm International Data Corporation, worldwide shipments of traditional PCs (desktop, notebook, and workstation) totaled 70.6 million units in the fourth quarter of 2017 (4Q17), recording slightly positive (0.7 percent) year-on-year growth.
IDC said that HP continues to lead as the top PC vendor worldwide with 8.3 percent growth year-over-year in Q4 shipments. Lenovo manages to garner the second position followed by Dell, Apple, ASUS, and Acer.
"The fourth quarter results showed some potentially encouraging headway against the difficult environment in retail and consumer PCs," said Jay Chou, research manager with IDC's Personal Computing Device Tracker.
Chou said that "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."
Aside from commercial demand, 2017 was further helped by several other factors. Although the situation improved as the year progressed, the shortage of key components such as SSD (Solid State Drives) acted as a major driver of shipments for much of 2017, with top PC companies vying to lock up supply ahead of price increases and thus boosting orders. In response to the contracting tablet market, companies also returned their focus to the notebook market, shifting the product mix to appeal to key user segments and expanding the number of slim, convertible, and gaming systems.
The report said that from a geographic perspective, the emerging regions were helped by a more favorable comparison against the tough market conditions in 2016, with Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) (APeJ) and Latin America both producing positive fourth quarter results and the United States remained a challenging market while Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) was stable and Japan continued to make steady gains with its sixth consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth.
"The solid holiday consumer sales provided enough momentum for the PC market to stabilize a bit further," said Neha Mahajan, senior research analyst, Devices & Displays.
She said that "However, the growing popularity of other mobile form factors continued to have a dampening effect and led the overall US PC market to perform below expectations."