Q4 2018 PC shipments dip amid trade tensions, CPU shortages

Gartner: Not a very merry Christmas for PC market as chip shortage bites, small biz vanishes

PC sales struggle yet again

Sales of personal computers took a knock in the fourth quarter from a combination of microprocessor chip shortages and the ongoing trade war between the US and China, according to reports today from analyst firms International Data Corp. and Gartner Inc. Lenovo, on the other hand, maintained its lead in the global PC market. Japan had an especially strong quarter driven by commercial refresh, which lifted virtually all aspects of the market.

IDC found that the PC market only shrank 0.4 percent to 258.5 million units, but warned the U.S. 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.

Both firms point to a shortage of CPUs and mounting trade tensions between the USA and China as causes for the decline. In the case of private users, the demand itself had not been in the Christmas business.

Lenovo maintained its status as the top OEM in the traditional PC space, and one of only two top 5 companies to post growth in the quarter compared to a year ago.

New data from IDC and Gartner has revealed that the U.S. trade war with China and processor shortages have had a significant impact of PC sales at a time when the PC market appeared to be recovering. Lenovo's PC business recovered in the US. Both desktop and notebook shipments saw year-on-year declines in 4Q18. Moreover, Acer took fifth place with a market share of 6.7 percent and a year-over-year decline of 8.5 percent.

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Gartner, in its quarterly report for the fourth quarter of 2018, reflects similar market developments.

Apple came fourth on the Gartner list as well, with a market share of 7.2 percent and a year-over-year decline of 3.8 percent.

"Political and economic uncertainties in some countries dampened PC demand", said Mikako Kitagawa, Senior Principal Analyst at Gartner. Even in the USA, where economic growth has been strong, small and medium businesses have cut back on PC spending. The company is followed by HP with 23.6 per cent share, and Dell, with 16.5 per cent.

"The majority of the PC shipment decline in 2018 was due to weak consumer PC shipments". Gartner said that holiday sales were no longer a major factor driving consumer demand for PCs. Finally, at Acer, shipments dropped 18.3 percent to 3.861 million, while its market share fell to 5.6 percent form 6.6 percent.

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