Worldwide PC shipments grow for first time in six years in 2Q18
By Digital News Asia July 18, 2018
- All of the top five PC vendors experienced an increase in worldwide PC shipments
- Mobile phones are the main influencer of the global device market growth
WORLDWIDE PC shipments totalled 62.1 million units in the second quarter of 2018, a 1.4% increase from the second quarter of 2017, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc This is the first quarter of year-over-year global PC shipment growth since the first quarter of 2012.
All regions experienced some growth compared with a year ago. While the results are a positive result for the PC industry, Gartner analysts said this sign of market stability is not enough to declare a PC industry recovery just yet.
"PC shipment growth in the second quarter of 2018 was driven by demand in the business market, which was offset by declining shipments in the consumer segment," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner.
"In the consumer space, the fundamental market structure, due to changes on PC user behaviour, still remains, and continues to impact market growth. Consumers are using their smartphones for even more daily tasks, such as checking social media, calendaring, banking and shopping, which is reducing the need for a consumer PC.
"In the business segment, PC momentum will weaken in two years when the replacement peak for Windows 10 passes. PC vendors should look for ways to maintain growth in the business market as the Windows 10 upgrade cycle tails off."
With the completion of Lenovo's joint venture with Fujitsu, three out of four PCs were shipped by the top five PC vendors in the second quarter of 2018.
With the inclusion of Fujitsu’s PC shipments due to the joint venture (a formation of Joint Venture with Fujitsu), Lenovo was in a virtual tie with HP Inc for the top spot in the second quarter of 2018 based on global PC shipments (see Table 1).
All of the top five PC vendors experienced an increase in worldwide PC shipments in the quarter.
HP Inc had its third consecutive quarter of year-over-year PC shipment growth. HP Inc. maintained steady growth across all regions, except the US In the other regions, its shipment growth well exceeded the regional averages. Lenovo experienced its highest growth rate since the first quarter of 2015.
While Dell's competitors have shown PC shipment declines periodically in the past two years, Dell's shipments did not decline during this time because of its strong focus on growth areas, especially in the commercial segment, as well as cutting off unprofitable businesses.
PC shipments in Asia/Pacific totalled 21.3 million units, a 0.1% increase from the second quarter of 2017.
India, Indonesia, Thailand and other emerging markets in Asia showed improvement in the commercial segment due to demand for replacing ageing PCs and upgrading to Windows 10.
In China, PC shipments declined 3.6% year over year as some business procurements have been postponed to 2019, and the consumer market is saturated.
Increasing PC prices will lead to flat growth of shipments
Worldwide shipments of devices — PCs, tablets and mobile phones — are on pace to record 0.9% growth to reach 2.28 billion units in 2018, according to Gartner, Inc.
The PC and tablet market is estimated to decline 1.2% in 2018, while the mobile phone market is on pace to record an increase of 1.4%.
"The PC market is still hindered by the undersupply of the DRAM market for tall of 2018, due to the lack of new wafer capacity coming online. As a result, PC vendors will continue to increase their prices throughout 2018," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.
"Larger screens and more graphic boards also mean rising costs, adding to the bill of hardware materials for businesses and household buyers."
While the PC market is price-sensitive, Gartner is witnessing business demand migrating to high-end PCs such as ultramobile premium devices, where value is seen as higher.
Gartner estimates shipments of ultramobile premium units to increase by 12% in 2018 (see Table 1).
End of Windows 7 adoption will mark next major shift in PC market
The next major shift in the PC market will be marked by the end of support for Windows 7 in January 2020.
"It is becoming paramount for businesses to migrate to Windows 10 as soon as possible, and certainly by the end of 2019," said Atwal.
North America kicked off the first Windows 10 migration phase in 2015 and will complete around 2019. Western Europe is increasing its adoption in 2018.
However, in China, Japan and other emerging regions, migration plans are shifting from 2018 to 2019 as they continue to prepare for inherent complications in changing process and procedures for Windows as a service.
China's Influence on global device market
While the global device market is affected by macro-economic factors and technology developments, it can also be influenced by the Chinese device market alone.
"China accounts for over 20% of global spending on devices, so any changes occurring there can have a significant ripple effect globally," said Atwal.
With nearly 1.9 billion units to be shipped in 2018, mobile phones are the main influencer of the global device market growth.
In China, mobile phone sales declined 8.7% in 2017 to 428 million units, but are estimated to grow 3.3% in 2018, representing 23% of total mobile phone sales this year.
The traditional PC market in China is on pace to decline 1.7% to 38.5 million shipments in 2018, representing 21% of global traditional PC shipments.
The drop will come despite China being business-dependent, with two-thirds of PC shipments coming from this segment.
"The downward trend that China is experiencing is undoubtedly affecting the worldwide device market," said Atwal.
"China is an interesting country to watch this year. The continued roll-out of a Chinese version of Windows 10 in the second half of 2018 as well as Apple iPhone's replacement cycle expected through 2019 will generate demand."
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