Q4 2018 PC shipments dip amid trade tensions, CPU shortages

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PC sales struggle yet again

Global shipments of traditional PCs, including desktop, notebooks, and workstations, fell by 3.7 percent in the last three months of the year 2018 when compared with a year earlier, according to a report by research firm IDC. In the fourth quarter of 2018, PC shipments in China declined 2.5 percent year over year, but shipments grew 5.6 percent sequentially.

Demand could, Kitagawa said, be pushed forward into 2019 "if CPU availability improves".

For the year, 2018 PC shipments surpassed 259.4 million units, a 1.3% decline from 2017. Consumer demand remained weak in the holiday season.

"Political and economic uncertainties in some countries dampened PC demand", Ms. Kitagawa said.

The top three vendors boosted their share of the global PC market as Lenovo, HP and Dell accounted for 63% of PC shipments in the fourth quarter of 2018, up from 59% in the fourth quarter of 2017.

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A major factor for Lenovo's share gain was credited to a joint venture with Fujitsu formed in May 2018.

It's not the largest drop around, but it once again paints a rather lacklustre picture for the PC market, which previous year actually looked like it was picking up a bit after quarters upon quarters of declining shipments. Region-wise, the US saw a small increase in volume from the a year ago, whereas it was all negative in the Europe Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region and the Asia-Pacific region, excluding Japan, saw a single-digit decline - majorly due to the US-China trade war. The results slightly outperformed the forecast, which called for a decline of 4.7%, but also produced the largest year-on-year decline since the third quarter of 2016 (3Q16) and capped the full year at a almost flat rate of -0.4%. However, the results also "produced the largest year-on-year decline since the 3Q16 and capped the full year at a almost flat rate of -0.4 percent", Newsbytes reported. Lenovo, which retained its spot as the top manufacturer in terms of shipments, saw modest year-over-year growth. IDC says that both desktop and notebook shipments from the Cupertino company saw year-over-year-year declines in the fourth quarter.

Acer Group took fifth place with market share of 6.7% and a year-on-year decline of 8.5%.

The top five vendors in the fourth quarter were Lenovo (24.2% market share; up 5.9% from the same quarter in 2017), HP (22.4%; down 4.4%), Dell (15.9%; up 1.4%), Apple (7.2%; down 3.8%), Asus (6.1%; down 10.7%) and Acer (5.6%; down 18.3%).

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