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 preliminary results by Gartner. The severity of the decline eased compared with the past seven quarters.
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
While the PC market remains weak, it is showing signs of improvement compared to last year. The PC professional market generally improved in regions such as EMEA. The U.S. saw the gradual recovery of PC spending as the impact of tablets faded.
The PC market continued to be tough for many vendors. Economies of scale matter tremendously in this high-volume, low-profit market, which is forcing some vendors, such as Sony, out of the market. In contrast, all of the top five vendors, except Acer, registered year-over-year shipment growth. The top thee vendors — Lenovo, HP and Dell — have all confirmed the importance of the PC business as part of their overall business strategies.
Lenovo experienced the strongest growth among the top five vendors. Its shipments grew 10.9 percent and Lenovo extended its position as the worldwide leader. The company’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.