Lenovo, HP Top Shrinking PC Market, IDC, Gartner Say
Low-cost systems, the popularity of Chromebooks and saturation of the tablet market help buoy a still-struggling PC space, the analyst firms say.Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard continue to lead a global PC market that is still in a slight decline or is recovering at a slow rate, depending on the analyst report that is being looked at. Analysts with Gartner and IDC on Jan. 12 released their respective numbers on the PC space for the fourth quarter and for all of 2014. Gartner found that PC shipments in the last three months of 2014 grew 1 percent, due in large part to a slowdown in tablet sales and efforts by PC makers to broaden their portfolios with smaller and lower-cost systems. For the year, PC shipments declined 0.2 percent, according to Gartner. For their part, IDC analysts said shipments in the fourth quarter fell 2.4 percent—better than the expected 4.8 percent decline—and shipments for all of 2014 dropped 2.1 percent when compared with 2013. There were some positive signs for the PC market, including low-priced systems, such as Chromebooks, and the promotion of Windows 8 with Bing, they said. However, some issues—such as constraints on Bing promotions in larger devices—may hurt the PC market in 2015, according to Loren Loverde, vice president of IDC's Worldwide PC Tracker business. "The strength from market leaders, as well as improvement in Asia/Pacific and the consumer market more generally, are positive signs for the PC market," Loverde said in a statement. "Growth of Chrome, Bing, all-in-ones, ultraslim, convertibles, and touch systems similarly make PCs more compelling and competitive. Nevertheless, some of the gains are relatively small, and weakening drivers like Bing promotions and end of XP support transitions cast a shadow of doubt on the strength of the market going into 2015."
The PC market has seen significant declines in shipments since 2011. The growing popularity in tablets shifted some business and consumer tech dollars away from PCs, and the lack of innovation in PCs put a damper on buyer enthusiasm. However, 2014 proved to be a better year for the space. The decline in PC shipments slowed, thanks to Microsoft's ending of support for Windows XP in April 2014 coupled with new form factors like two-in-ones, the saturation of the tablet market and the drive by businesses to refresh their fleets of aging PCs.