U.S. Personal Computer Market Grows Despite International Decline

Editorial Intern

While the personal computer market around the world maintained its slump, American shipments saw growth this spring after five consecutive quarters of decline.

Preliminary results from Gartner, a Connecticut-based technology research and advisory company, estimated a 1.4 percent increase in U.S. shipments in the 2nd quarter of 2016, compared to the same period last year. Internationally, shipments saw a seventh consecutive quarter of contraction with a 5.2 percent decline.

The International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, based in Massachusetts, published more conservative numbers. The U.S. market’s growth still held, but at 4.9 percent, while worldwide shipments decreased by only 4.5 percent.

Meanwhile, in the U.S. K-12 market, shipments of personal computing devices continue to grow, but at a slower rate than during the double-digit, fast-growth years of 2013 to 2015, according to Futuresource Consulting, a London-based research company that tracks the school market.

In the first quarter of 2016, the U.S. saw a slowdown in that growth to a 9.5 increase over the first quarter of 2015, with shipments thus far this year reaching just over 2 million units.

Worldwide, education market shipments of personal computing devices dropped 15 percent in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the same quarter last year, with Latin America accounting for the largest declines. (See our recent story “U.S., Global K-12 Market for Global Computing Devices Slow” on Futuresource’s report.)

Overall PC Market

In its publication, Gartner said that the North American market was the only region which escaped negative growth.

“One of the ongoing problems in the PC market has been the price hike in selected regions due to the weakening local currency against the U.S. dollar,” Mikako Kitagawa, a principal analyst at Gartner, said in the release. “However, PC shipment declines became rather modest in the second quarter compared with previous quarters, which suggests a fading currency impact.”

Latin America remained a weak market, which Kitagawa attributed to instability in the region. In Europe, Gartner analysts maintained that Brexit fallout had yet to affect the worldwide market. IDC recognized the effect of the region’s recent stability issues though speculated that there were signs of short-term stabilization in the wider Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) market. Gartner attributed the Asia/Pacific region’s negative numbers to a stagnant economy and major elections, while the IDC cited Ramadan and commercial projects in India, Thailand and the Philippines.

IDC’s numbers on quarter-to-quarter growth in the international market can be seen below:


In North America, IDC and Gartner diverged on how Dell, HP Inc. and Lenovo led the U.S. market. While both agreed that Lenovo dominated global shipments and was third in American market share, there was a 5.5 percentage difference between their growth numbers in the U.S. HP Inc. had the greatest domestic market share in both analyses, but Gartner estimated its shipment growth to be 0.9 percent while IDC calculated it to be 11.5 percent—a 10.6 point difference.

On the international stage, both Dell and Lenovo fared worse than in the U.S. Dell’s growth was capped at 4.2 percent and Lenovo’s dropped by at least 2.3 percent.

Acer, Apple and Asus bottomed out both analyses internationally and domestically.

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