PC sales stumble in Q4 amid CPU shortages, China trade war

Andrew Cummings
January 13, 2019

Worldwide PC shipments stood at 259.4 million units in 2018, down 1.3 percent from 2017, marking the seventh straight year of decline, but a less steep drop compared with the past three years.

Just when the PC market found its footing the USA trade war with China and processor shortages put the kibosh on unit sales, according to stats from both IDC and Gartner. "After two quarters of growth in the second and third quarters of 2018, PC shipments declined in the fourth quarter". Gartner, however, expects the demand to 2019 will continue.

Also weighing on the market were political and economic uncertainties among small- and midsize businesses.

Apple's global market share fell during the fourth quarter when compared to the same period a year ago while its United States market share increased. Gartner said that holiday sales were no longer a major factor driving consumer demand for PCs. Region-wise, the US saw a small increase in volume from the past year, whereas it was all negative in the Europe Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region and the Asia-Pacific region, excluding Japan, saw a single-digit decline - majorly due to the US-China trade war. However, the results also "produced the largest year-on-year decline since the 3Q16 and capped the full year at a almost flat rate of -0.4 percent", Newsbytes reported. The company has recorded three consecutive quarters of double-digit year-over-year shipment growth, despite the stagnant overall market.

This according to the latest preliminary research from Gartner, which said on Friday that global PC shipments in the fourth quarter of a year ago totalled 68.6 million units. The research firm highlights that Lenovo led the market in the quarter with a market share of 24.2 percent, showing a 5.9 percent increase year-over-year.

IDC found that the PC market only shrank 0.4 percent to 258.5 million units, but warned the U.S.

"The majority of the PC shipment decline in 2018 was due to weak consumer PC shipments", Kitagawa said. Apple defended its Position on the fourth (6.9 percent market share), ranked five and six follow Acer (6.1 percent) and Asus (6.0%). Moreover, Acer took fifth place with a market share of 6.7 percent and a year-over-year decline of 8.5 percent.

The market stabilization in 2018 was attributed to consistent business PC growth, driven by Windows 10 upgrades.

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