Despite PC industry’s flat year-to-year growth, HP dominated first-quarter sales

HP commanded the North American market in the first quarter of 2018 according to the latest report from International Data Corporation (IDC). The company seized 22.6 percent of the market followed by Lenovo at 20.4 percent, Dell at 16.9 percent, Acer at 6.8 percent, and Apple at 6.6 percent. Compared to the same quarter in 2018, HP grew 4.3 percent while Lenovo evened out and Dell grew 6.4 percent. Acer and Apple actually dropped 7.7 and 4.8 percent, respectively. 

Overall, the PC market growth remained flat in the first quarter compared to the same period in 2017, with no rise or fall in shipments. The statistics include desktops, laptops, and workstations, which combined saw 60.4 million units sold globally in the first quarter of 2018. Market watchers previously predicted a 1.5 percent decline. 

Driving the PC market is a demand for premium notebooks in the mainstream and commercial markets. Gaming systems are also part of the equation as hardware prices continue to drop to better address budget-oriented wallets without sacrificing performance. According to the report, an improved supply of “key components” brought prices down to help smaller vendors recover their share of their PC market. 

“The component shortage that initially impacted portions of 2017 led some vendors to stock up inventory to avoid expected component price hikes, and that led to some concerns of excess stock that would be hard to digest in subsequent quarters,” said Jay Chou, research manager with IDC’s Personal Computing Device Tracker. “However, the market is continuing on a resilient path that should see modest commercial momentum through 2020.” 

The report shows that in North America alone, 13.5 million units shipped during the first quarter. For the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East, Africa), the report doesn’t state how many units actually shipped, but instead says the region’s PC market showed stable growth. Notebooks maintained a growth trajectory due to increased mobile adoption and customer awareness while desktops experienced strong results thanks to a growing gaming community and long-awaited device refreshes. 

In the Asia-Pacific region, the quarter ended on a different note. China’s PC market performed lower than expected due to a “softer demand” and a fewer number of promotions. Japan fell below expectations as well stemming from a lackluster fourth quarter in 2017 but still managed to see some growth in 2018’s first quarter. The report states that Japan’s first three quarters of 2017 “affected future demand.”

Just in the past few weeks, device makers have shown that the PC platform is far from dead, especially for gamers. HP’s refreshed portfolio is the most recent, addressing mainstream gamers, general customers, and those looking for an alternative to Windows. Asus rolled out new and refreshed laptops under its Republic of Gamers brand while Samsung just debuted its Notebook Odyssey Z gaming laptop. Dell loves PC gamers, too, with four new G Series laptops. 

“The year kicked off with optimism returning to the U.S. PC market, especially on the notebook side,” said Neha Mahajan, senior research analyst, Devices and Displays. “The retail platform shows signs of stability especially with a fast-growing gaming community adding to the confidence.”