After years of consistent declines, PC sales appear to have finally turned a corner. Market researchers Gartner and IDC have reported that PC sales grew during the fourth quarter of 2019, boosting the entire year into the black.
Gartner reported that PC sales grew 2.3 per cent for the fourth quarter, to 70.6 million units, and 261 million units for the year. Rival analyst firm IDC largely agreed, estimating that PC unit sales grew 4.8 per cent, to 7.18 million units.
IDC said that worldwide PC sales grew 2.7 per cent for 2019 as a whole, ending eight successive down years since the PC market grew 1.7 per cent in 2011.
Gartner reported that two opposing factors affected PC sales: On one hand, the end of support for Windows 7 prompted businesses to invest in new hardware, giving new PC sales a shot in the arm.
However, the ongoing Intel CPU shortage constrained sales, Gartner wrote, and actual sales could have been much higher.
“This past year was a wild one in the PC world, which resulted in impressive market growth that ultimately ended seven consecutive years of market contraction,” Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers, said in a statement.
“The market will still have its challenges ahead, but this year was a clear sign that PC demand is still there despite the continued insurgence of emerging form factors and the demand for mobile computing.”
IDC noted that the top three PC vendors—Lenovo, HP, and Dell—all seized the opportunity to consolidate their market share, commanding 65 per cent of the PC market. Worldwide, IDC found that Lenovo is still the world’s top PC vendor, with 24.8 per cent of the market, followed by HP (23.9 per cent) and Dell (17.4 per cent).
All three showed excellent gains for the quarter, with Dell’s unit sales climbing by nearly 11 per cent, according to IDC's estimates. Gartner’s own figures were nearly identical.
Within the United States, HP topped fourth-quarter PC sales with 31.2 per cent of the market, followed by Dell at 26.8 per cent and Lenovo at 14.9 per cent.
While HP recorded a modest 4.4 per cent bump in U.S PC sales for the fourth quarter, Dell and Lenovo saw bigger gains of 15.9 per cent and 11.2 per cent, respectively.
Gartner also published its own preliminary estimates for 2019 PC sales. In those estimates, Lenovo was also the top worldwide PC vendor for the year, with 24.1 per cent market share. HP was second, with 22.2 per cent, while Dell was third with 16.78 per cent.