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

13 January 2019

It's not the largest drop around, but it once again paints a rather lacklustre picture for the PC market, which past year actually looked like it was picking up a bit after quarters upon quarters of declining shipments.

However, Lenovo seems to be an exception as the overall market has been stagnant. Japan had an especially strong quarter driven by commercial refresh, which lifted virtually all aspects of the market.

Apple came fourth in the list with a market share of 7.2 percent, showing a decline a 3.8 percent year-over-year.

IDC's Asia/Pacific Client Devices Group Research Manager Maciek Gornicki separately highlights that the ongoing economic tensions between the United States and China are likely to create a lot of uncertainty in the business environment in China. Among other players, HP saw a modest decline in its year-over-year volumes. The top four firms are the same as Gartner, and Acer replaces Asus in fifth spot.

The end of the processor shortage will likely help boost PC sales but any further escalation of the USA trade war against China could be devastating for the PC market.

Despite the overall decline, the analysts said that there were at one point signs for optimism in 2018, but the industry was impacted by two important trends.

Gartner, in its quarterly report for the fourth quarter of 2018, reflects similar market developments.

"Political and economic uncertainties in some countries dampened PC demand", said Mikako Kitagawa, Senior Principal Analyst at Gartner.

In the US, HP was the top vendor for 4Q18, taking 33.4% market share. The company is followed by HP with 23.6 per cent share, and Dell, with 16.5 per cent. "There was even uncertainty in the USA - where the overall economy has been strong - among vulnerable buyer groups, such as small and midsize businesses (SMBs)". Finally, at Acer, shipments dropped 18.3 percent to 3.861 million, while its market share fell to 5.6 percent form 6.6 percent. In India, a significant drop in consumer demand together with high inventory remaining in the channels led to a stronger than expected decline in the consumer and SMB segments, while Intel supply shortages led to a drop in sales to the enterprise customers. Gartner said that holiday sales were no longer a major factor driving consumer demand for PCs.

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