Bean counters at both IDC and Gartner pegged PC shipments at a bit over 82 million units in the fourth quarter of 2013, the former tallying 82.2 million PCs representing a 5.6 percent year-on-year loss, and the latter coming up with 82.6 million system shipments for a 6.9 percent decline compared to the same period in 2012. Gartner called it the worst decline in PC market history, but there's reason to be optimistic, especially for Lenovo.
Mikako Kitagawan, principal analyst at Gartner, believes the PC market has finally bottomed out, especially in the U.S. where tablet and smartphone penetration is already pretty deep. Over in emerging markets, mobile handhelds will continue to "negatively impact PC growth" as consumers turn to tablets and smartphones as their first connected device.
IDC was nearly as optimistic, noting that even though U.S. growth was nothing to really brag about, PC shipments improved in other parts of the world, "reinforcing our view that growth rates will continue to improve gradually during 2014 despite remaining in negative territory."
As for Lenovo, the OEM increased its lead over HP and all others during the fourth quarter of 2013 and now holds an 18.6 percent share of the market according to IDC, and 18.1 percent according to Gartner. This is the first time Lenovo has been the top PC maker (in terms of shipments) for a full calendar year.
"Even as we have strengthened our PC leadership position, we have also embraced a major shift in the marketplace," Lenovo CEO and chairman Yang Yuanqing said in a statement. "Lenovo is leading the way in the PC+ era. Not only are we number 1 in PCs, but now we are number 2 in the PC + tablet category, and number 3 in Smart Connected Devices (PCs, tablets and smartphones) globally. Our strong consistent performance in our core PC business has given us the foundation to invest and grow in these new areas."
Dell has reason to be optimistic as well. Out of all the major OEMs, Dell was the only one outside of Lenovo to increase its share of the PC market in 2013, though it still trails HP for the No. 2 spot.