PC Shipments Have Strongest Quarter in Six Years

WSJ

Personal-computer shipments in the second quarter had the strongest showing in six years, driven by stronger demand from business customers, according to preliminary data from two research firms.

Based on Gartner Inc. IT 0.86% data, it was the first year-to-year increase since the first quarter of 2012. According to International Data Corp. data, it was the strongest rate of growth since that quarter.

While both firms track sell-in numbers—units shipped to companies’ warehouses—rather than direct sales to consumers, much of the difference in their data comes from how each firm defines PCs. Gartner excludes Chromebooks from calculations but includes so-called ultramobile premiums, such as Microsoft Surface, which IDC excludes.

While the latest report sends a positive sign to the industry, Gartner stopped short of declaring a recovery for the PC market.

Overall, Gartner said, preliminary data showed world-wide PC shipments totaled 62.1 million units in the second quarter, up 1.4% from the year earlier.

In the U.S., PC shipments totaled 14.5 million units, up 1.7% from the year earlier, which Gartner said marked a return to growth after six consecutive quarters of declines.

Similarly, IDC said world-wide shipments reached 62.3 million units, beating the firm’s forecast with a 2.7% increase from the year earlier. According to its data, the traditional PC market registered the second consecutive year-to-year increase in the U.S. with 17.3 million total units.

“And with sentiment looking improved for the second half of the year, the U.S. could deliver a strong market performance for the year,” said Neha Mahajan, an IDC senior research analyst.

Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, said business demand that fueled much of the growth “will weaken in two years when the replacement peak for Windows 10 passes.”

The consumer segment, Ms. Kitagawa said, remains challenged as smartphones continue to gain ground in daily tasks from shopping to using social media.

In the U.S., business PC demand was stronger in the public sector, she said, noting the quarter is typically when government and education clients buy PCs.

Gartner’s data showed Lenovo Group Ltd. as the No. 1 world-wide vendor, slightly ahead of HP Inc. HPQ 2.04% by shipments though roughly equal by market share.

Lenovo experienced its highest growth rate since the first quarter of 2015, the firm said, and that company’s results include Fujitsu’s units for the first time, reflecting the joint venture that closed in May. Excluding Fujitsu shipments, it would have been Lenovo’s highest growth since the third quarter of 2014, Ms. Kitagawa said.

Dell maintained its third spot, according to Gartner.

In the U.S., Gartner said HP held on to the No. 1 spot, despite a slight market contraction.

IDC data, meanwhile, showed HP maintaining the top spot world-wide, followed by Lenovo and Dell.

Write to Maria Armental at maria.armental@wsj.com

Appeared in the July 13, 2018, print edition as ‘PCs Log Strong Rise In Orders.’

https://www.wsj.com/articles/pc-shipments-show-first-quarterly-increase-since-2012-1531431617?mod=pls_whats_news_us_business_f

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