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Report: Worldwide PC Shipments Slump, But Dell, Apple Gain Market Share

Shanthi Rexaline

There seems be no respite for the weakness in the personal computer market, as worldwide shipments continued to fall year-over-year for the 14th straight quarter in the first quarter of 2018, according to preliminary data released by market research firm Gartner.

The findings did not match with rival firm IDC's estimates of flat shipment growth. 

What Happened

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 61.7 million in Q1, down 1.4 percent from one year ago, according to Gartner. In the fourth quarter of 2017, the drop was a steeper 2 percent. For 2017 as a whole, shipments fell 2.8 percent, the firm said. 

China was a weak point and was responsible for the bulk of the decline in Q1, according to Gartner's data. Unit shipments in China fell 5.7 percent, with the research firm attributing the predicament to a pushing forward of new purchases or upgrades by some state-owned and large enterprises.

"In the first quarter of 2018, there was some inventory carryover from the fourth quarter of 2017," Mikako Kitagawa, principal scientist at Gartner, said in a statement. 

"At the same time, vendors were cautious in overstocking due to the upcoming release of new models in the second quarter of 2018 with Intel's new eighth-generation core processors."

U.S. PC unit shipments were down 2.9 percent at 11.8 million, while the Asia-Pacific region saw a 3.9-percent drop. The lone bright spot was the Europe and Middle East, where shipments rose 1.7 percent, Gartner said. 

Notwithstanding the softness in shipments, average selling prices continued to rise, according to Gartner. The research firm blamed persistent component shortages and rising input costs for the spike.

Dell, Apple Augment Market Share

An analysis of U.S. shipments by vendors showed that Dell Technologies Inc (NYSE: DVMT) moved past HP Inc (NYSE: HPQ) in market share, with the former boasting a 29.1-percent share of the total market in the U.S. compared to the latter's 28.4 percent. In the year-ago quarter, Dell had a 26.2-percent share versus HP's 29 percent.

Dell's strong showing comes on the back of a 7.6-percent increase in unit shipments. HP's shipments fell 4.8 percent.

Following Dell and HP was Lenovo Group Limited (ADR) (OTC: LNVGY), which had a 13.8 percent share of the market, a 0.3 percent-point decline year-over-year. In absolute terms, shipments fell 4.8 percent.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) boosted its market share yet again, as it recorded a 0.5-percent increase in shipments and a market share of 12.6 percent in Q1 compared to 12.2 percent in the first quarter of 2017.

Why It's Important

The improved showing by Apple and Dell comes as the PC market appears to be bottoming out;  HP now has catchig up to do to regain its dominant position.

Lenovo is seeing strong momentum in the PC market in the Americas, and the "worst period" is over, the company's CEO Yang Yuanqing was quoted as saying at the company's annual motivational conference this week.

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