Global PC shipments grew 0.6% in 2019
This was the first time in seven years that the global PC market experienced growth.
Global PC shipments totaled 70.6 million units in the fourth quarter of 2019, a 2.3% increase from the fourth quarter of 2018, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. For the year, 2019 PC shipments surpassed 261 million units, showing 0.6% growth from 2018.
“The PC market experienced growth for the first time since 2011, driven by vibrant business demand for Windows 10 upgrades, particularly in the U.S., EMEA and Japan,” said Mikako Kitagawa, senior principal analyst at Gartner. “We expect this growth to continue through this year even after Windows 7 support comes to an end this month, as many businesses in emerging regions such as China, Eurasia and the emerging Asia/Pacific have not yet upgraded.”
“Contrasted against the ongoing weakness in consumer PC demand, business PC demand has led to unit growth in five of the last seven quarters,” said Kitagawa. “The ongoing Intel CPU shortage, which began mid-last year, became a major issue again on PC delivery to enterprise customers by the top three vendors. Without this shortage, shipments would have grown faster than the reported results.”
“The fourth quarter is typically a strong buying season for small and midsize businesses (SMBs) that want to maximize their spending before the tax year ends,” said Kitagawa. “The relatively stable economic conditions in the U.S. compared with previous quarters, coupled with the end of Windows 7 support, also loosened up spending on PCs.”
PC shipments in EMEA increased 3.6% year over year to 21 million units, with the fourth quarter of 2019 marking the second consecutive quarter of shipment growth as regional demand improves. In Western Europe, the required Windows 10 upgrade outweighed any uncertainty surrounding Brexit. However, negative consumer confidence in the U.K. translated into the delay of many PC purchases.
“Geographically, Japan’s annual growth led the overall market’s growth,” said Kitagawa. “As for vendor performance, the top three vendors grew faster than the market itself, gaining a combined market share of 63.1% in 2019 compared with 60.2% in 2018. Their focus on the business market and more favorable allocations within the current CPU constraints served them well throughout the year.
“Looking ahead, Gartner predicts a continuous decline in the consumer PC market over the next five years. Product innovation is one of the key factors that will enable the overall PC market to maintain sustainable growth. We’ve already started to see this through the ‘foldable laptops’ introduced at CES this past week along with initiatives that make PCs as easy as smartphones by allowing users to always be connected and ensuring a worry-free battery life. Such innovations that change user behavior and create new product segments are something to keep an eye on in 2020 and beyond,” added Kitagawa.