Home Market IDC sees green shoots in the PC market

IDC sees green shoots in the PC market

Worldwide shipments of traditional PCs totalled 60.3 million units in Q1, 2017 – a 0.6% y-o-y growth and the first positive “green-shoots” indicator since Q1, 2012.

There are many reasons for the return – Windows 10 hybrids like the Microsoft Surface Pro and convertibles like HP’s x360 series are hotly favoured devices, mature markets are now on a refresh cycle from the 2011 peak, Windows 10 is driving commercial uptake, Windows 10 PC gaming is back, and tablets are no longer the PC killer category they were as full-fat and full featured hybrids take over.

From a geographic perspective, mature markets outperformed emerging markets. All regions exceeded forecast except for the United States which posted a slight decline. Despite the generally positive trends, Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) and Latin America continued to see year-over-year volume declines.

Jay Chou, research manager, IDC PCD Tracker, said, “The traditional PC market has been through a tough phase, with competition from tablets and smartphones as well as lengthening lifecycles pushing PC shipments down roughly 30% from a peak in 2011.

"Nevertheless, users have generally delayed PC replacements rather than giving up PCs for other devices. The commercial market is beginning a replacement cycle that should drive growth throughout the forecast. Consumer demand will remain under pressure, although growth in segments like PC Gaming as well as rising saturation of tablets and smartphones will move the consumer market toward stabilisation as well.”

Top 5 Vendors, Worldwide Traditional PC Shipments, First Quarter 2017 (Preliminary)

(Shipments are in thousands of units)
Vendor 1Q17 Shipments 1Q17 Market Share 1Q16 Shipments 1Q16 Market Share 1Q17/1Q16 Growth
1. HP Inc 13,143 21.8% 11,621 19.4% 13.1%
2. Lenovo 12,322 20.4% 12,121 20.2% 1.7%
3. Dell 9,573 15.9% 9,017 15.0% 6.2%
4. Apple 4,201 7.0% 4,036 6.7% 4.1%
5. Acer Group 4,121 6.8% 4,006 6.7% 2.9%
Others 16,967 28.1% 19,140 31.9% -11.4%
Total 60,328 100.0% 59,942 100.0% 0.6%
Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker, 11 April, 2017

HP Inc has benefitted from its separation from its enterprise division. Its x2 hybrid and x360 formats now cover from low-cost consumer to high-reliability enterprise Elite mil-spec devices. 

Lenovo has done well in China and Asia – its fortunes in the US, UK, and Australia are mixed.

Dell is doing well at Lenovo’s expense with growth in every region, except the US, from strong corporate notebook volumes.

Apple kept the fourth position, as it has done for some years, and grew 4.1% year over year mainly with the new MacBook touch bar models.

Acer had a difficult 2016 but has come back with new models like the Sprint and Spin 7 and almost knocked Apple off its fourth place. Acer has repositioned as the value brand and its volumes will increase.

Linn Huang, research director, Devices and Displays at IDC, said, "A long-term threat to the overall PC market lies in how the market ultimately settles on the detachable (hybrid) versus convertible (5-in-one or 360° hinge form factors) debate.

"Detachable shipments have dwarfed those of convertibles but have slowed a bit. In IDC's 2017 US Consumer PCD Survey, detachable owners held slightly more favourable attitudes than convertible owners to their devices. However, owners of both were far more likely to recommend a convertible over a detachable."


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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!