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Global PC shipments plummet by 12.3% as COVID-19 impact kicks in

Tue 14 Apr 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The global PC market has experienced its sharpest decline in seven years due to the impact of COVID-19, seeing a 12.3% decline from the first quarter of 2019, according to Gartner.

Research released yesterday from Gartner revealed PC shipments totalled 51.6 million units in the first quarter of this year, dropping from 58.4 million in the same period last year.

This dip is even more significant as it represents the first decline in the global market after three consecutive quarters of growth.

“The single most significant influencing factor for PC shipment decline was the COVID-19outbreak, which resulted in disruptions to both the supply and demand of PCs,” says Gartner research director Mikako Kitagawa. 

“Following the first lockdown in China in late January, there was lower PC production volume in February that turned into logistics challenges.

“Once COVID-19-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.

“This quarter’s vendor results underscore the growing economic uncertainties that are tightening PC spending, especially among small and midsize businesses. 

“This uncertainty, coupled with the end of the Windows 10 upgrade peak, is causing enterprises to shift their IT budgets away from PCs and toward strategic business continuity planning,” says Kitagawa.

“We will start seeing enterprises and consumers alike extending their PC life cycles on a more permanent basis as they focus on preserving cash.”

Market share among the top three vendors did not change despite the decline in the global market, accounting for 65.6% of shipments in this year’s first quarter, up from just over 60% in the first quarter of 2019.

Lenovo is still in the top position, however their shipments dropped 3.2% in 2020’s first quarter and 22.6% year over year in the APAC region, according to Gartner.

In second place, HP Inc. had a challenging first quarter, with a 12.1% decline in PC shipments after three consecutive quarters of shipment growth. 

HP recorded double-digit shipment declines in all key regions, taking the hardest hit in desk-based PCs in APAC and Japan.

Dell, in third place, was the only top vendor that showed year over year shipment growth – rising 2.2%.

Dell’s shipments grew in all regions in the first quarter of 2020, except in APAC. 

Growth was particularly strong in the Americas where Dell experienced relatively stable business PC demand until March. The first quarter of 2020 was the company’s ninth consecutive quarter of shipment growth.

Because coronavirus impacts were most apparent in the U.S. later on in the first quarter of 2020, the U.S. PC market actually grew 0.8%. 

However, PC shipments showed a steep sequential decline of 30.2% compared to last quarter.  

Dell and HP Inc. swapped spots in the U.S. based on shipments, with Dell taking just over 31% of the PC market share, according to Gartner.

In a reflection of the fact that East Asian countries were the first to be impacted by COVID-19, APAC showed the worst year over year decline of 27.1% since Gartner started tracking the PC market. 

Overall PC shipments in China dropped by over 30% compared to 2019. 

Desk-based PCs, the primary commercial PC type for the government and education organizations, experienced the biggest drop of nearly 40%. 

Mobile PCs declined less – 20% – as notebook demands were driven by remote employees and e-learning students.

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