End of Windows XP-fueled replacement cycle drags down PC shipment numbers

Research on worldwide PC shipments from Gartner Inc. shows a weak market for desktop computers is eclipsing renewed strength in thin and light notebooks and the hybrid PC market.

According to Gartner, worldwide PC shipments reached 71.1 million units in the first quarter of 2015, a 5.2 per cent decline over the same quarter in 2014. The number was driven by a rapid decline in desk-based PCs, particularly in the commercial space. Gartner sees mobile PCs operating on a separate underlying replacement cycle, and this category grew in Q1, thanks in part to strong growth fo hybrid notebooks, especially in mature markets.

“The PC industry received a boost in 2014 as many companies replaced their PCs due to the end of Windows XP support, but that replacement cycle faded in the first quarter of 2015,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, in a statement. “However, this decline is not necessarily a sign of sluggish overall PC sales long term. Mobile PCs, including notebooks, hybrid and Windows tablets, grew compared with a year ago. The first quarter results support our projection of a moderate decline of PC shipments in 2015, which will lead to a slow, consistent growth stage for the next five years.”

When it comes to shipments by vendor, only Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard Co. had positive quarters. Lenovo remains the top PC vendor according to Gartner with 18.9 per cent of Q1 shipments, up 5.7 per cent on the quarter thanks to strong growth in EMEA and the US and strong performance by its hybrid notebooks, including its Yoga line. HP was second with 17.3 per cent of the market, up 2.5 per cent year over year, and remained the top vendor in the US and EMEA.

Dell, in third spot, saw a decline in shipments for the first time in six quarters, dropping by 5.1 per cent to hold 12.6 per cent of shipments. Asus and Acer had 7.4 and 7.2 per cent of shipments, respectively. Gartner says Dell benefited more than other vendors from the Windows XP-fueled commercial replacement cycle, and so with the cycle over its shipments are tapering off somewhat.

Gartner cautions that its Q1 numbers are preliminary and could be adjusted as the data is finalized.

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras is a technology journalist with IT World Canada and a member of the IT Business team. He began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada and the channel for Computer Dealer News. His writing has also appeared in the Vancouver Sun & the Ottawa Citizen.

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