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Global PC market slump finally flattens

Q1 2014 ends eight straight quarters of decline, according to Gartner figures

Global PC market slump finally flattens
The PC market's installed base has been declining as buyers switch to tablets and smartphones

The global PC market's slump flattened out in the second quarter of 2014, following eight straight quarters of decline, according to preliminary findings from Gartner.

During Q2 2014, worldwide PC shipments totalled 75.8m units, a 0.1% increase from the second quarter of 2013, Gartner said. However, the market still showed a mixed bag of prospects, the research house warned.

"While the worldwide PC market stopped two years of declining shipments in the second quarter, there were mixed results, as stabilisation in developed markets was offset by a decline in emerging markets," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner.

"The PC industry in emerging markets has been impacted by the allure of low-cost tablets. These low-cost tablets continue to take spending from new PC units, meaning that it will take more time for PC sales to stabilise in emerging markets."

Kitagawa added that the PC market's installed base has been declining as buyers switch to tablets and smartphones for entertainment and social media consumption. He said that the Q2 2014 results suggested that this restructuring peaked during 2013, and that Gartner was now seeing a slowdown in premium tablet sales.

"PCs are now growing off a smaller installed base of newer devices, with more engaged users. Therefore, we expect to see slow, but consistent, PC growth," he said.

"While the end of support for Windows XP drove some of the sales in developed markets, it is the underlying business replacement cycle that will stabilise the market."

In terms of vendors, Lenovo extended its lead as the number-one global PC manufacturer, increasing its market share to 19.2%, Gartner said. Research house IDC also put Lenovo in front for Q2 2014, with an estimated market share of 19.6%. Gartner said that the vendor's PC shipments saw double-digit growth in all regions except for Asia-Pacific, though Lenovo still saw faster growth than the regional average.

Meanwhile, HP achieved its fastest global PC shipment increase in the last four years, shipping over 13.4m units and garnering 17.7% market share, Gartner said. Dell also saw double-digit growth in the quarter, shipping just over 10m units and securing 13.3% of the market.

Regionally, PC shipments in EMEA totalled 22.5m units in the second quarter of 2014, an 8.6% increase from the same period last year, Gartner said.

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