HP Leads Declining Market for PCs

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Fourth-quarter 2017 shipments of personal computers (PCs), including desktops and laptops, fell 2% year over year to an estimated 71.56 million units. HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) was the volume and market-share leader with worldwide shipments totaling 16.08 million in the quarter and a share of 22.5%. For the full year, worldwide shipments dipped 2.8% to 262.54 million units.

China’s Lenovo ranked second in fourth-quarter shipments with 15.74 million and market share of 22%. Privately held Dell shipped 10.84 million units and nabbed 15.2% share.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was the fourth-ranked vendor with fourth-quarter shipments of 5.45 million for a 7.6% share. Asus and Acer were the other vendors identified by name in the report from industry analysis firm Gartner Inc.

Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa said:

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. 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.

While Gartner noted shipment growth in most markets, the U.S. market declined sharply. Year-over-year fourth-quarter shipments fell by 8% to 15.21 million. HP accounted for just over a third of U.S. shipments while Dell shipped just under 25%. Apple’s ranked third in U.S. shipments with a 13% share.

Kitagawa noted:

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. 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.

For all of 2017, HP led in shipments with 55.16 million units for a market share of 21%, just ahead of Lenovo’s 20.8% share. Dell claimed 15.2% share and Apple garnered a 7.4% share.