Worldwide shipments of personal computers (desktops, notebooks and workstations) fell by 12.3% year over year in the first quarter of 2020, according to the latest report from research firm Gartner. That’s the sharpest drop since 2013, and Gartner attributes the decline to the coronavirus outbreak that disrupted both global supply and demand.
The lockdown in China that began in late January caused a reduction in PC production volume during February. The resulting “logistics challenges” made it difficult for the industry to meet a surge in demand from workers and students all over the world who had been ordered to go home and stay there.
Gartner research director Mikako Kitagawa commented: “Once coronavirus-related lockdowns expanded to other regions, there were new, sudden pockets of PC demand for remote workers and online classrooms that PC manufacturers could not keep up with.”
According to Gartner’s first-quarter tally, Lenovo, HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) and Dell Technologies Inc. (NYSE: DELL) were the top three, based on shipments of 12.6 million, 11.1 million and 10.2 million, respectively. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) ranked fourth with worldwide shipments of 3.6 million units.
All told, global shipments totaled 5.16 million units in the first quarter, down 12.3% from 58.9 million units shipped in the same period last year.
Lenovo shipments fell 3.2% year over year, including a drop of 22.6% in Asia Pacific. HP experienced double-digit declines in all its key regions, with the hardest hit being desktop sales in Asia Pacific and Japan. Dell’s sales rose 2.2% year over year in the first quarter and grew in all regions except Asia Pacific.
In the United States, Dell was the volume leader with 3.5 million units shipped and a market share of 31.4% in the first quarter. Sales volume rose 10% year over year and market share rose by 9%.
HP shipped 2.7 million units for a market share of 24.8%. Volume was down 13.9% and market share dipped by 14.8%.
Lenovo shipments totaled 1.9 million units for a market share of 12.3%. Volume rose by 28.8% and market share jumped by nearly 28%.
Apple shipped 1.3 million units, equal to 12.3% of U.S. market share. Volume rose by 1.1% and market share increased by about 0.8%.
Research firm IDC reported global PC shipments fell by 9.8% in the first quarter to 53.2 million units. Like Gartner, IDC attributed the decline to reduced supply due to the COVID-19 outbreak:
While production capacity in January was pretty much on par with past years, the extended closure of factories in February and the slow resumption of manufacturing along with difficulties in logistics and labor towards the end of the quarter led to a reduction of supply. Meanwhile, demand rose during the quarter as many employees needed to upgrade their PCs to work from home and consumers sought gaming PCs to keep themselves entertained.
IDC research manager Jitesh Ubrani commented:
Though supply of new PCs was somewhat limited during the quarter, a few vendors and retailers were able to keep up with the additional demand as the threat of increased tariffs last year led to some inventory stockpiling at the end of 2019. However, this bump in demand may be short lived as many fear the worst is yet to come and this could lead to both consumers and businesses tightening spending in the coming months.
IDC expects U.S. shipments of desktop machines to grow in the low single-digits this year, while sales of notebooks are expected to shrink by more than 8%.
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