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According to preliminary results by Gartner, worldwide PC shipments totaled 71.6 million units in the fourth quarter of 2017, a 2 percent decline from the fourth quarter of 2016.
The data says that HP Inc. moved into the No. 1 position in the fourth quarter of 2017, as its shipments grew 6.6 percent, and its market share totaled 22.5 percent. The company showed year-over-year growth in all regions, including the challenging U.S. market. For the fourth consecutive quarter, Lenovo experienced a decline in shipments. Lenovo had moderate growth in EMEA and Asia/Pacific, but shipments declined in North America.
The research firm further said that Dell's shipments grew slightly in the fourth quarter of 2017. Dell did well in EMEA, Asia/Pacific, and Latin America, but it had weak results in North America. Generally, Dell has put a higher priority on profitability over market share.
Meanwhile, for the year, 2017 PC shipments surpassed 262.5 million units, a 2.8 percent decline from 2016. It was the 13th consecutive quarter of declining global PC shipments, as well as the sixth year of annual declines.
However, Gartner analysts said there were some signs of optimism.
"In the fourth quarter of 2017, there was PC shipment growth in Asia/Pacific, Japan, and Latin America. There was only a moderate shipment decline in EMEA," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "However, the US market saw a steep decline, which offset the generally positive results in other regions.
"The fourth quarter results confirmed again that PCs are no longer popular holiday gift items. This does not mean that PCs will disappear from households," Kitagawa said. "Rather, the PC will become a more specialized, purpose-driven device. PC buyers will look for quality and functionality rather than looking for the lowest price, which will increase PC average selling prices (ASPs) and improve profitability in the long run. However, until this point is reached, the market will have to go through the shrinking phase caused by fewer PC users."
In the U.S., PC shipments surpassed 15.2 million units in the fourth quarter of 2017, an 8 percent decline from the fourth quarter of 2016 (see Table 2). Four of the top five vendors experienced a decline in U.S. PC shipments in the fourth quarter of 2017. HP Inc. was the only vendor to increase shipments in the quarter. The decline was attributed to weak consumer demand despite holiday season sales.
"U.S. consumer confidence was high in the fourth quarter of 2017, but that did not influence PC demand. U.S. holiday sales were filled with popular products, such as voice-enabled speakers, and newly released smartphones," Kitagawa said. "PCs simply could not compete against these gift items during the holiday season. We did see some consistent growth of gaming and high-end PCs."