Global PC shipments decline by 2 percent in Q4 2017: 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, according to preliminary results by Gartner. 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 for 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 U.S. 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.”

HP 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 (see Table 1). 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.

Table 1

Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 4Q17 (Thousands of Units)


Company 4Q17 Shipments 4Q17 Market Share  4Q16 Shipments 4Q16 Market Share  4Q17-4Q16 Growth 
HP Inc. 16,076 22.5 15,084 20.7 6.6
Lenovo 15,742 22.0 15,857 21.7 -0.7
Dell 10,841 15.2 10,767 14.7 0.7
Apple 5,449 7.6 5,374 7.4 1.4
Asus 4,731 6.6 5,336 7.3 -11.3
Acer Group 4,726 6.6 4,998 6.8 -5.4
Others 13,990 19.6 15,599 21.4 -10.3
Total 71,556 100.0 73,015 100.0 -2.0

Notes: Data includes desk-based PCs, notebook PCs and ultramobile premiums (such as Microsoft Surface), but not Chromebooks or iPads. All data is estimated based on a preliminary study. Final estimates will be subject to change. The statistics are based on shipments selling into channels.

Source: Gartner (January 2018)

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.

Steep PC shipment decline in the U.S.

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 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.”

Table 2
Preliminary U.S. PC vendor unit shipment estimates for 4Q17 (thousands of units)

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