Worldwide PC shipments totaled 76.6 million units in the first quarter of 2014, a 1.7 percent decline from the first quarter of 2013, according to a report from IT research firm Gartner.
In the U.S. market, PC shipments totaled 14.1 million units in the first quarter of 2014, a 2.1 percent increase from the same period last year.
Tech giant Hewlett-Packard (HP) maintained the top position, as it accounted for 25 percent of PC shipments in the U.S. market.
The report found Dell and Lenovo experienced the strongest growth among the top five vendors, with growth rates of 13.2 and 16.8 percent, respectively.
In addition, the share difference between Dell and HP once again narrowed compared to last quarter. In the first quarter of 2014, HP achieved its fastest shipment growth of the last two years.
The data in the report includes desk-based PCs and mobile PCs, including x86 tablets equipped with Windows 8, but excludes Chromebooks and other tablets.
"The end of XP support by Microsoft on April 8 has played a role in the easing decline of PC shipments," Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, said in a statement. "All regions indicated a positive effect since the end of XP support stimulated the PC refresh of XP systems. Professional desktops, in particular, showed strength in the quarter. Among key countries, Japan was greatly affected by the end of XP support, registering a 35 percent year-over-year increase in PC shipments. The growth was also boosted by sales tax change. We expect the impact of XP migration worldwide to continue throughout 2014."
Lenovo experienced the strongest growth among the top five vendors. Its shipments grew 10.9 percent, and the company extended its position as the worldwide leader.
Lenovo's shipments grew in all regions except Asia/Pacific, where growth in China has been problematic. Overall, the China market again slowed, in part due to the long holiday in the middle of the quarter, the report noted.
"In terms of the major structural shift of the PC market, the U.S. market is ahead of other regions," Kitagawa continued. "The installed base of PCs started declining in 2013, while the worldwide installed base still grew. The U.S. PC market has been highly saturated with devices: 99 percent of households own at least one or more desktops or laptops, and more than half of them own both. While tablet penetration is expected to reach 50 percent in 2014, some consumer spending could return to PCs."
Meanwhile, the top thee vendors — Lenovo, HP and Dell — have all confirmed the importance of the PC business as part of their overall business strategies.