Growth in demand was noted in Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) (APeJ) and Latin America, with Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) stable due to growth in the sales of notebooks and an upgrade cycle in business, and US challenging with a decline in both notebooks and desktops and a total of 16.5 million units sold.
Worldwide Market Share, based on Shipments, of the Top 6 Personal Computing Device Companies, 4Q16-4Q17 (Graphic: Business Wire).
Worldwide PC shipments totalled 71.6 million units in the fourth quarter of 2017, a 2 percent decline from the fourth quarter of 2016, making it a 13th consecutive quarter of declining global PC shipments, as well as the sixth year of annual declines, according to preliminary results by Gartner Inc. Still, Gartner said there some signs for optimism, with Q4 shipment growth in Asia/Pacific, Japan and Latin and only a moderate decline in EMEA.
PC shipments reached almost 260 million in 2017, representing a YOY decline of 0.2% and the most stable year for the market since 2011.
"The US market saw a steep decline, which offset the generally positive results in other regions", Kitagawa added. Japan also exceeded forecasts, although shipments were still in decline. Gartner says the consumer market stabilised with fourth-quarter online promotions in many countries which drove demand for gaming PCs, thin and light notebooks. For more, be sure to give IDC's full report a gander. In third place, Dell shipments lifted 0.7 percent in Q4, with its market rising to 15.2 percent form 14.7 percent.
Gartner notes that as the PC industry continues to consolidate, the top four vendors in 2017 accounted for 64% of global PC shipments, whereas In 2011, the top four vendors accounted for 45 percent of PC shipments.
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"The top vendors have taken advantage of their volume operations to lower production costs, pushing small to midsize vendors out of the market", Kitagawa said. Both showed more than an 8% increase in shipments.
They also both noted flat results from Lenovo, with a global decline in sales resulting largely from weak USA figures, despite growth in every other region.
The 4Q17 results further validate the view of a steadying, albeit still weak, traditional PC market, buoyed mainly by commercial upgrades and pockets of improving consumer PC demand.
Premium laptops and 2-in-1 devices were also common at the show this year, indicating that companies are indeed returning their energy to the notebook market to appeal to professionals, and expanding their slim, convertible, and gaming system offerings, as IDC noted in the report. "This does not mean that PCs will disappear from households", Kitagawa said.
"The fourth quarter results showed some potentially encouraging headway against the hard environment in retail and consumer PCs", said Jay Chou, research manager with IDC's Personal Computing Device Tracker.
"PC buyers will look for quality and functionality rather than looking for the lowest price, which will increase PC average selling prices and improve profitability in the long run".
According to IDC, market demand was driven by a desire from PC suppliers to snap up machines before components shortages drive up prices further.