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Global PC market in slight recovery

Preliminary Gartner results suggest 1% year-over-year growth

Global PC market in slight recovery
PC shipments in the EMEA region totalled 26.5m units in the fourth quarter of 2014

The global PC market has slightly recovered from more than two years of decline, according to preliminary findings from Gartner, which estimates that worldwide PC shipments totalled 83.7m units in the fourth quarter of 2014 - a 1% increase over the year-ago quarter.

In a statement, Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, said that the market was quietly stabilising following the installed base reduction driven by users opting for devices other than PCs.

"Installed base PC displacement by tablets peaked in 2013 and the first half of 2014. Now that tablets have mostly penetrated some key markets, consumer spending is slowly shifting back to PCs," Kitagawa said.

However, Kitagawa added that there are regional variations in the PC market. She explained that, for the most part, mature regions show an ongoing trend of positive growth, but emerging markets remain weak.

"The US showed the highest growth in the fourth quarter of 2014. In EMEA, the Western Europe PC market also showed good consumer sales. Emerging markets, on the other hand, still showed weak PC growth," she said.

"We attribute this weakness to a strong affinity for smartphones and tablets in those markets, while PCs are a low priority. Even low-priced notebooks struggle to succeed, because of the different mobile device usage patterns."

Overall, PC shipments in the EMEA region totalled 26.5m units in the fourth quarter of 2014, a 2.8% increase from the fourth quarter of 2013. Gartner said that this growth was largely driven by Western Europe with good consumer notebook shipments during the holiday season.

In terms of vendor market share, Lenovo held onto its position as the worldwide leader in PC shipments, Gartner said. In Q4 2014, the Chinese vendor held 19.4% of the market, according to the research house's numbers. However, Gartner said that Lenovo had a quarter of mixed results, with strong growth in the EMEA and US regions, but declining shipments in Latin America and Japan.

Indeed, Lenovo's lead narrowed in the fourth quarter, Gartner said, with HP growing 16%, giving it an 18.8% slice of the total market. Gartner said that HP had shown positive results in the fourth quarter of 2014, with strong growth in the US and EMEA and Asia/Pacific growth exceeding the regional averages.

Dell maintained its third position and accounted for 12.7% of the market, Gartner said. The fourth quarter 2014 results indicate that Dell's expansion into the consumer market has been successful, which was the least focused market for the company prior to the leveraged buyout, the research house explained.

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