PC Market Starting to Stabilize After Eight Quarters of Declining Shipments

Paul Lilly

Users migrating from Windows XP helped offset weak consumer spending in the PC sector

Market research firms agree that worldwide PC shipments declined in the first quarter of 2014 , which is the eighth quarter in a row of negative movement. However, there are signs that the market is starting to stabilize. It's a bit of a fuzzy picture at the moment because users migrating from Windows XP could be mucking with the trend line, but the picture should become much clearer by the end of the year.

International Data Corporation (IDC) pegs the number of PC shipments at 73.4 million, a decline of 4.4 percent year-on-year, which is better than the projected decline of 5.3 percent. That's also roughly in line with Gartner's figures , which counted 76.6 million PC shipments in Q1, down just 1.7 percent from the same quarter a year ago.

"While the PC market remains weak, it is showing signs of improvement compared to last year. The PC professional market generally improved in regions such as EMEA. The U.S. saw the gradual recovery of PC spending as the impact of tablets faded," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner.

IDC wasn't quite as optimistic, though it did come to a similar conclusion in terms of stabilization.

"Worldwide PC shipments have now declined for eight consecutive quarters as a result of shifting technology usage and competition (notably with tablets & smartphones) as well as economic pressures (including high unemployment, slow growth & investment, tight credit, and currency fluctuations) related to the Great Recession, sovereign debt crises, and their related impact on international trade," said Loren Loverde, Vice President, Worldwide PC Trackers. "The economic front seems to be gradually stabilizing and/or improving."computers

Both firms have Lenovo leading the market, IDC with a 17.7 percent share versus HP's 17.1 percent stake, and Gartner crediting Lenovo with 16.9 percent of the market, versus HP's 16 percent.

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