The PC market is no longer falling drastically. Worldwide PC shipments, which according to Gartner dropped to an estimated 79.4 million units in the third quarter of 2014, saw only a 0.5 percent decrease from the same period last year. And the reason may come down to the strength of the top five vendors: Lenovo, HP, Dell, Acer, and Asus.
The top five vendors showed stronger growth compared to the industry average, leveraging the scale they have built up over the years. In fact, for the first time, the big five reached a cumulative share accounting for two thirds of worldwide PC shipments in Q3, boding quite well for the upcoming fourth quarter.
With a plateau for two consecutive quarters this year, PC makers are surely looking towards the 2014 holiday season as an opportunity to make a comeback. Furthermore, with Sony, Samsung, and Toshiba leaving the industry, there is a lot more pie up for grabs.
That process has already started. If you look at the chart above, Lenovo may have extended its position as the worldwide leader in PC shipments, but the other four also all managed to gain share. It’s also worth pointing out that since going private, Dell has seen positive results from its commitment to the PC market.
In the US, PC shipments totaled 16.6 million units in the third quarter of 2014, a 4.2 percent increase from the same period last year. This was the third quarter in a row with positive shipment growth:
The top three vendors did well. Lenovo was flat in the US (the company’s only weak spot), and Toshiba is on its way out, so its drop is to be expected. All things considered, this was a good quarter, not just in the US but worldwide.
You may remember that in Q2, worldwide PC shipments saw a 0.1 percent growth, following eight consecutive quarters of decline. Some of these percentage declines were even in the double digits, though we appear to have now put that behind us.
Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, explained in a statement that this progress comes down to a shift in demand: “Consumers’ attention is slowly going back to PC purchases as tablet adoption peaked with mainstream consumers. The transition from PCs to tablets has faded as tablet penetration has reached the 40-50 percent range.”
Update: IDC today also released its third quarter estimates, with worldwide PC shipments totaling 78.5 million units, down 1.7 percent year-over-year. These numbers are slightly worse, but the trend is the same.