The PC Industry (Barely) Grew for the First Time in 6 Years

Posted on July 15, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Hardware, Chromebook, Mac and macOS, Windows 10 with 53 Comments

Both Gartner and IDC agree that the PC industry grew—if very slightly—in the quarter ending June 30, the first that’s happened in years.

I’ll have a deeper analysis of this situation for Premium members soon. But to be clear, this does not mean that the PC industry is “back,” or that we will now see growth in subsequent quarters, let alone this or future calendar years.

“PC shipment growth in the second quarter of 2018 was driven by demand in the business market, which was offset by declining shipments in the consumer segment,” Gartner’s Mikako Kitagawa wrote, noting that consumer PC market is still shrinking at an alarming rate thanks to smartphones.

“The PC market continues to show pockets of resiliency as PC usage experience evolves and improves,” IDC’s Jay Chou added in that firm’s own report.

So what is this growth that is so exciting? Averaging the numbers from these two firms, as I’ve done for years, we see that PC makers sold approximately 62 million computers in the second quarter of 2018, up from the 60.8 million PCs they sold in the same quarter a year ago.

That means the PC market grew by just 1.9 percent in the quarter.

(All such measurements are made year over year, not quarter over quarter. In the previous sequential quarter, the PC market technically grew a tiny amount too, but I continue to call that “flat.”)

The makeup of the top five PC makers—HP, Lenovo, Dell, Apple, and Acer—hasn’t changed much in recent months. But HP’s performance is worth pointing out: Contrary to the rest of the industry, HP has now experienced PC sales growth in three consecutive quarters. They’re obviously on to something.

More soon.

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Comments (53)

53 responses to “The PC Industry (Barely) Grew for the First Time in 6 Years”

  1. skane2600

    PC's are a mature market and nothing grows without limit. Tablet sales have declined in recent years and so have smartphone sales. We are no more in the Post-PC era than we are in the Post-Tablet era or the post-Smartphone era. All three of these device types will continue to sell for years to come.

    • BoItmanLives

      In reply to skane2600:

      This is wishful thinking that ignores the data and reality. Phones continue to displace PCs for general computing tasks. Thats just a fact.

      Whether Apple sold less iphones this quarter than last doesn't change the big overall trend: more phones are activated every day, while less PC's are being purchased every day, and the PCs that already exist are being used less and less.

      • skane2600

        In reply to BoItmanLives:

        Many people who own smartphones never owned a PC and never were going to, with or without smartphones. So the idea that every (or even most) smartphone purchases represent a displaced PC purchase is incorrect.

        While sales obviously matter to companies selling PCs or smartphones, an individual who has replaced their PC with a smartphone and buys a new one every year or two, isn't displacing a PC for each smartphone purchased. Thus the faster update cycle for smartphones over PCs can mislead people to think the "displacement" is greater than it really is.

        • Ugur

          In reply to skane2600: Exactly. I wonder whether these doomsday for pc market predictors live in some fantasy world where things are so different than in the real world.
          in the real world pretty much everyone i know of gets a new phone every 1-4 years and usually several per family, so of course they have way more smartphones per family in a shorter timespan than they have their 1-2 pc laptops/deskops which are in many cases only upgraded every 3-5++years.
          Doesn't mean everyone stopped using laptops/desktops, they just use the same for longer and often don't have one per family member, instead fewer for the whole household.

          To my experience people use phones the longest duration of the day but most still also use a laptop or desktop at home or at work, too.
          What actually had the biggest cut buck in the recent few years was arm tablets, which got a lot less popular once smartphones with bigger screen became a thing and hence then there was less use case left for something between a smartphone and a laptop/convertible/desktop which still only has a mobile OS and not much bigger screen than their phone.

          Anyone halfway realistic would also not declare the end of the pc market or even just it becoming a niche until phones and tablets can sufficiently do all the tasks most people do on them.

          I feel like tech journalists are actually also among a group of people who should not hand out judgments on such stuff based on just their own experience, because they themselves don't have need for much more than text editing and basic image editing and then often think: Oh, if the ipad can do those two now and chromebooks, too, the pc market is doomed!
          While there are so many things so many people do on pcs which can not be done well on an ipad, phone or chromebook.
          I could easily list 50 apps i use daily in my work which will never be available on an ipad or chromebook and without which i can't do my work, so i will always need a pc as long as i work in this field (which is a strong modern and growing high tech field).

          And there are many fields in which a phone and even an arm tablet can still not sufficiently replace a pc for over a billion of users nor will it do so in the next 5 years if ever.

          One could argue with every step of improvement of arm tablets and chromebook like devices that's less and less, but in summary, when one combines all those "niches" for which people still use pcs, that's quite a lot of niches actually, obviously more than a billion people of users niches.

          Then some argue: But that's just you old generation, the next generation of kids will only use phones and arm tablets and at most chromebooks!!!

          Really though? I don't think so. My nephew is 9 now and he was the first generation growing up using a smartphone and tablet before touching a computer/mouse/keyboard/joypad.

          Still he learned very early on what a phone is useful for, what a tablet is useful for and what a laptop/desktop is useful for.
          And most in his age group are the same.
          They know the best art, sound, code, anything creation apps are on computers. They know the best version of most games is on computers. They know the most kickass graphics and generally anything pushing tech further most is on computers.
          They know arm tablets (even if they just call all of them ipad) are for content consumption and at best light editing, as soon as one just wants to write a longer text, they suck.

          So yeah, he doodles on a smartphone and tablet much and plays the throwaway games there for example but is also well aware the best version of those and any other games is on the computer or console, not on a phone so he nags me constantly to be allowed to play them on my computer.

          Some then argue: but, but, that will change! Some day the smartphones and arm tablets will be just as powerful as pcs! and they will have just the same games on same level as pcs! and just all the other apps on same level as pcs! and just also the latest cutting edge tech like pcs!

          first: well, then they would be pcs, not smartphones and arm tablets with unqiue different OS with different pros and cons anymore, then we wouldn't have to talk about decline of pc, it would have just expanded to phone and arm tablet form factor.

          second: not gonna happen, because the mobile arm device platform holders intentionally restrict what can run in apps from the app store.
          Also the mobile app stores don't offer a viable business model other than free to play or subscription for less than 1000 studios, so for the large majority of devs and app more in depth app types there is no viable business model there. So no, you can't just put out an ipad and have all the devs crank out the most awesome in depth apps and support them long term. Most give up on it once they realize what's going on in the app store.

          And also the pc progress is not sleeping and will progress further, too and one will always be able to put way more powerful hardware into pc desktop or even laptop form factor than into small phone or small arm tablet form factor and so the cutting edge progress will always be there, not in a phone where there has to be thermal throttling in 20 seconds.

          • curtisspendlove

            In reply to Ugur:

            There are quite a lot of assumptions in this post.

            But I’ll just disagree with the main one:

            Tablets and smartphones *are* as powerful as mid-level desktop/laptop computers.

            I think most people on forums like these over-estimate the amount of “traditional” applications “normal people” need.

            • skane2600

              In reply to curtisspendlove:

              There are potentially many interpretations of what "powerful" would mean in the context of PCs, smartphones and tablets. While there is some overlap, each device type excels in different areas.

              PCs are obviously a poor choice for taking photos of your friends at the beach and sharing them on a social network. Similarly, smartphones are a poor choice for editing large documents, creating spreadsheets, or creating serious art. Tablets are in-between: less handy for social networks and a bit more practical at productivity work although generally not as useful for that as a PC.

              You're right some people won't need "traditional" applications, but as I said, many of them were never going to be potential PC owners anyway.

            • Ugur

              In reply to curtisspendlove: I think most people who state that others over estimate how much regular people need "traditional" applications under estimate just how many use case niches and applications for them there are on pcs.

              First: no, i'm a developer and i can tell you from testing and developing many apps and games that arm tablets and smartphones are nowhere near as powerful as mid-level laptops and desktops.

              Apple made a way under powered macbook version which runs desktop apps and games crappy and then made an iPad pro with best most powerful arm chip among large tablets which turned out to be way overpriced for most people for an arm tablet and then in a geek bench nonsense benchmark it showed: oh, gosh, the iPad pro performs like that under powered macbook!

              And so Apple could push the myth that we'd already be there.

              And most people accepted that geekbench based result and took it as fact, oh, yes, now we have phones and arm tablets as powerful as computers!!!

              In reality real workloads are nothing like that nonsense geekbench benchmark on many ends, just as one basic example one usually uses a computer for longer term tasks instead of just for 30 seconds, so a benchmark which stresses a phone or tablet only very briefly is not a realistic indicator for performance during longer than 30 sec real world usage.

              An arm tablet, and even way more so a smartphone has to throttle down very quickly for thermal reasons and hence can't sustain it's highest performance capability long at all, it has to throttle down very quickly, else it would explode.

              Same also for battery usage reasons (less space for large battery), so if it would run even just 30 minutes at full power the battery would be done.

              So yeah. In the real world when one uses an app/game longer than 30 sec a phone and arm tablet is nowhere near the capabilities of a medium spec laptop/desktop.

              And that's just cpu talk.

              On gpu and graphics api side arm phones and tablets are like over 3 years behind average laptops and over 5 years behind laptops and desktops with a proper graphics card/dedicated gpu.

              Then, even if at some point (which i pressume would be in the next 2-4 years) phones and arm tablets would really have chipsets powerful enough as current actual mid level performance laptops at least and could sustain that performance level for longer term usage than 30 sec, too, it still does not allow all the same apps and games automatically.

              Again, there are major limitations implied by the mobile OS intentionally and also implicitly by the app store distribution model which limits what kind off apps developers can make there and expect any sustainable income. So many types of games and apps will never be developed long term for mobile OS devices.

              And since i don't see Apple doing moves like forbidding commercial apps/games which are free" up front (, nor do i see them opening up their OS to desktop OS level ), that's not gonna change for the better, the mobile app stores get forced to free to play/subscription type content more and more and lots of devs become less and less into developing and supporting more in depth stuff there longer term.

              And, again, most important: there are so many "niche use cases" for pcs/laptops that all those niches taken together, when one combines all them there are actually use cases for A LOT of users to also still have laptops and desktops.

              I could go on longer but to cut it short now:

              THERE IS NO POST PC ERA. It didn't happen, it won't happen.

              Very simple =)

              Instead there is a more computing devices all around us than ever before era, with most people using more form factors than ever before for different use cases and that palette is growing, not shrinking.

              Most people who can afford it have more computing device form factors than ever before, not less.

              And mobile OS/hardware gets closer and closer to pcs, but that does not mean there is a post pc era, it means the opposite, there is an era of more pc form factors than ever before.

              • curtisspendlove

                In reply to Ugur:

                Meh. I’m a developer too. Don’t care to argue benchmarks, etc.

                You said something in your earlier post about not declaring that the PC will go away until tablets and smartphones can do all the tasks most people do on them.

                I believe we are already to that point. Most people don’t need a PC anymore.

                (Honestly I think the only thing we are currently missing is the ability to cheaply, easily dock a smartphone / tablet to a KVM combo like you can a laptop. I mean...isn’t that what everyone is clamoring for Surface Go / Andromeda to be? That would be 90-100% of what *most* office workers need.)

                My household (and probably yours) does not fit into “most people”.

                We have a laptop per person (yes, including the kids). We also have a gaming desktop. I actually have three laptops just myself (a personal MacBook Pro and two business Windows machines).

                But the laptops for the kids are mid-range laptops. $500-$600

                Not great. In fact my youngest son (13) doesn’t use it for much other than homework. And that’s when he even bothers to get out the old archaic laptop.

                I’ve seen him type out reports on his Galaxy phone.

                He generally plays games in the XBox. (I bought his Switch from him since he is mostly into shooters.)

                He wanted a gaming laptop until I told him how much it was going to cost (we buy the “school” device, they have to pay for their own “luxury” device). He decided against it. He’s happy with the Xbox One.

                My wife has a gorgeous ($2,200) Alienware 17” laptop that she hardly opens.

                Most of her time is spent drawing on her ($400) Galaxy tablet. (She hates Apple otherwise I would have bought her an iPad Pro. Though I do think she’d like a Surface more...Android tablets are just too limited in my opinion. But she likes it. The iPad Pro would be absolutely killer for the kind of digital art she does though. Completely comparable to a Surface “tablet”. Many professional artists I know say the iPad is better. But that’s going to be a subjective opinion.)

                Regardless, most of the families around us don’t even use their aging family PCs more than a few times a year.

                Granted we we are in a fairly well-to-do area. But that’s actually part of my point.

                They have disposable income. They could buy expensive computers.

                But what I see, what I hear, “oh yeah between this phone and iPad I can do everything I need to do...oh by the way, can you come over and fix my computer...we started it up the other day to print something off and it’s running slow again...couldn’t even print the water turn email”.

                Sure, and while I’m there we will hook up your phone and iPad to your printer so you can just print off that.

                “You can do that?!?!?”

                Yes. It’s 2018.

          • robincapper

            In reply to Ugur:

            I agree with your "I feel like tech journalists are actually also among a group of people who should not hand out judgments on such stuff based on just their own experience, because they themselves don't have need for much more than text editing and basic image editing" in many cases.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to skane2600:

      PC's are a mature market and nothing grows without limit. . . .

      On a tangent, new PC sales could decline while total PCs in use increase. As there's less need for the latest models (because 5-year-old and even some 10-year-old PCs can run nearly all current Windows desktop software), there's less need to replace older PCs.

      As for tablets specifically, I'm not sure how much market there is for 10" and larger ones as alternatives to laptops. OTOH, I'd be willing to bet that 7" tablets began an inexorable slide to oblivion with the advent of the 6" phablet.

  2. F4IL

    Yeah, i'll have to agree. This year's stats aren't indicative of PC resurgence by any means.

    It will certainly be interesting to see next year's trends.

  3. dnation70

    if they get to the point were all laptops have LTE service, that will put the hurts on cell phones.

  4. christian.hvid

    I wish that every once in a while, market researchers would adjust sales figures with respect to changed longevity of the products they research. If the average lifetime of a PC increases from 3 to 5 years due to higher quality and stable performance requirements, that translates to a 40% drop in sales, assuming that usage is constant. Likewise, if the average lifetime of a smartphone decreases from 3 to 2 years due to more fragile designs, it translates to a 50% increase in sales. If we believe that sales figures reflect the pervasiveness of a certain platform or form factor, we're bound to be misled.

  5. Ugur

    Sometime all existing device form factors markets will shrink for a while as the market will get saturated for that form factor.

    A few years ago it was just the case that some predicted pcs will go away.

    Meanwhile it has been proven over time that desktops and laptops (and convertibles) still very much have their place and are still used massively and it was just the case that the pc market was already well saturated so was already not growing massively anymore when stuff like the ipad came out.

    Since the ipad was with it's form factor and OS focused on different use cases sorta new form factor, the market for that was not saturated at all yet of course so that had huge growth for a while.

    Combine that with saturated pc market and hence those markets shrinking while ipad like arm tablets selling huge, and some thought it was a great opportunity to declare the pc doomed.

    Well, now we see, meanwhile the ARM tablet markets are way more saturated, too and hence those are not selling like hotcakes anymore either.

    And meanwhile the smartphone market is well saturated, too in many parts of the world.

    So then all are declining or having way smaller than in the past growth.

    No biggy.

    We should just get away from wanting to declare something is ending when still used by billions of people daily.

    And we should maybe also get away from expecting something already huge to ever grow further in same way because, no, it won't. At some point it is just logical there is saturation for this form factor and hence sales will go way down until people need to upgrade that type of device again.

  6. johnlavey


    You mentioned that HP may be on to something. Here's my personal experience. I bought a Spectre 13" laptop a year and a half ago, raved about by you in your review, and I think it is the best laptop I have ever bought. It looks great and is very fast. But what makes it even better, is HPs support team. The techs I contacted, and in some cases talked to on the phone, were wiling to do whatever had to be done to fix my computer. One time I had to mail the laptop to HP and they replaced my touch screen at no cost to me. I call that service. I also own a Dell XPS13 with the same configuration as my Spectre. The XPS is slower, the screen isn't nearly as "beautiful' as the Spectre and their technical support was not as good as HPs.

    Again, this is my personal opinion based on my experience with both laptops. I WILL go back to HP when I need another computer. One other note: HP wasn't always my computer company of choice. Dell was my #1 source. I can't explain why HP improved in my mind, but 'they obviously are on to something'.

  7. Bats

    A 10 year graph needs to be made in order to understand the where the PC market is trending. The PC Industry will never be back. It's best days are already over, thanks to simpler and and operating systems that run mobile smartphones/computers like Android, iOS, and the web. I wouldn't be surprised if the PC sales go through a larger decline as well.

    Again, this needs to be graphed.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to Bats:

      . . . The PC Industry will never be back. . . .

      It never went away. It's just not growing any more. And there's no guarantee the microcomputer industry would never become a growth industry again, though the odds against are substantial.

      That said, it's true that phones and tablets can now handle many tasks which required PCs 10 years ago. As time goes on, there may be more leisure and some productivity tasks which could shift to smaller, more portable devices. However, few would relish trying to perform many productivity tasks on phones or tablets rather than PCs, e.g., I have no interest in using TurboTax on phones.

      • curtisspendlove

        In reply to hrlngrv:

        I have no interest in using TurboTax on phones

        I have no interest in TurboTax.

        However. What if you could walk into your home office, drop your phone on your wireless charging dock, sit down at your desk, wiggle the mouse and your phone pops up TurboTax on your 4K monitors.

        (Yes, I know you aren’t there yet. Maybe we will never have wireless video transfer. I honestly don’t know the bandwidth required, but I know thunderbolt bandwidth is pretty gnarly.)

        All I’m saying is that the majority of complaints are “the phone is too small”, “I need a mouse”, or “I need a keyboard”.

        The phone / tablet isn’t inherently the problem. It’s the UI/UX.

        Edit: yes, I know. But this is like the “tech magic” version of the aspirational version of Surface Go...or more likely Andromeda.

        People are fine with plugging a tablet / fancy folding phone thingie into a projector for presentations. But plugging it into a KVM combo is some pipe dream?

        I connect to remote KVMs daily that are hundreds if not thousands of miles away from me.

        They inherit my monitor, trackpad, mouse, and keyboard and working with them is seamless.

        I have a cloud ubuntu server with Xfce. I connect to it remotely.

        It does the same.

        :: shrug ::

        • skane2600

          In reply to curtisspendlove:

          "What if you could walk into your home office, drop your phone on your wireless charging dock, sit down at your desk, wiggle the mouse and your phone pops up TurboTax on your 4K monitors"

          Where's the advantage to this scenario? Unless the phone is very cheap, it's going be more expensive than what we typically use now even if it worked flawlessly.

          "People are fine with plugging a tablet / fancy folding phone thingie into a projector for presentations. But plugging it into a KVM combo is some pipe dream?"

          It's a completely different use case. A projector is shared device that is occasionally used in meetings. It's not as if every worker who uses a computer has their own projector and wall to project on.

        • hrlngrv

          In reply to curtisspendlove:

          . . . What if you could walk into your home office, drop your phone on your wireless charging dock, . . .

          If one's files were stored in the cloud, what'd be the advantage of popping the phone into a dock vs having the equivalent of Chrome OS built into a smart monitor, or using a PC on a stick?

          I'm skeptical such phone-centric systems would work well, partly because I doubt phone hardware would be up to much processing load and partly because such phones would require a fair amount of OS which serves little to no purpose when used as a phone.

          I've seen but not had hands-on with Android phones which provide Linux desktops when docked. Part of how that works involves sharing a kernel and using chroot. Is there really a Windows equivalent for those?

          OTOH, if all the phone does is provide a platform for running a connection client to VMs running on servers, wouldn't a smart monitor with the equivalent of Chrome OS plus separate phone be cheaper and both more secure than a phone both as phone and as connection client platform?

          • curtisspendlove

            In reply to hrlngrv:

            I don’t necessarily disagree. My point is simply:

            • most people use desktop / laptop machines as dumb terminals


            • as a browser interface into proprietary systems

            With the possible exception of systems that need to integrate with other systems via a serial or USB port (which should be modernized, if it is mission critical)...there already exist apps (Office), or could exist apps (ported to web) to handle all needs and make a business independent of end-user hardware they buy.

            I dont care if it is a phone, tablet, Andromeda, pair of AR glasses, smart monitor, or neural implant that comes next.

            One should not be tied to a specific price of hardware. Yet many, many huge companies are.

            • skane2600

              In reply to curtisspendlove:

              "most people use desktop / laptop machines as dumb terminals

              or as a browser interface into proprietary systems"

              What do you base that on? Apparently all the millions of people who bought the native version of Office, or Photoshop, or hundreds of other programs never use them since they can't be accessed when the PC is acting as a dumb terminal or through a browser. Not to mention all the legacy proprietary software systems companies were wise enough not to convert to web-based when there wasn't any good business case for doing so.

  8. VancouverNinja

    What happens now as the industry starts releasing Surface Go devices? This device is still a Windows 10 PC.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to VancouverNinja:

      Start by looking at last month's AdDuplex report. It's sampling may be biased, but it's a starting point. The 3rd chart shows MSFT with 2.51% of Windows 10 OEM share. Even if Surface Go doubles that, some of those Surface Gos would replace sales of other Windows 10 PCs/tablets, so unlikely it'd add more than 1-2% to overall worldwide PC shipments.

      • VancouverNinja

        In reply to hrlngrv:

        Last year there were 168 million tablets sold. This year it is projected to be the low 150 million. Microsoft has not had an offering in the space ever (a true tablet form factor weight and size). Now comes Go and every other tablet maker stuck on Android tablets has an opportunity to produce a Go like offering. Apple's market share is somewhere in the high 30's to very low 40 %. 60% of 150M gives MS 90 million potential sales. I would hazard a guess they are going grab market share very quickly and within three years they could be second to Apple. Going low, if they take 20% over 3 years, with other OEMs pumping out Windows 10 tablets, It could be worth 30 million more Windows 10 users annually - but probably much much more than that.

        This could put Microsoft back at close to 200 million PCs annually and that is if the PC market is simply stagnant. Not too bad for anyone involved.

        Also I can't see too many people using the go as a full PC replacement - it will happen but not for the majority. The user for the Go are Windows 10 users that want that media consumption device with the benefits of the same apps they have on their PC.

        • hrlngrv

          In reply to VancouverNinja:

          Indeed, MSFT has never had an offering in the true tablet market segment (as long as one doesn't mention the Surface RT and Surface 2). Hence, there's not much software available for true tablets running an OS named Windows. Do true tablet buyers buy those devices just for the experience of carrying and admiring the hardware, or do those buyers buy those devices to run software generally referred to as apps? In the first 6 months after release, what's likely to constitute the majority of software run on Surface Gos?

          As for Android tablets, ridden in a commercial airplane recently? The screens on the back of most seats are tablets, small, locked-down tablets running a very limited set of apps. There are other similar commercial niches for tablets in which neither iPads nor Windows true tablets are ever likely to play significant roles. I have no data, but I figure most Android tablets are used for such purposes. Since Apple and Amazon have just under 1/3 of what IDC calls the tablet market, I figure 1/2 of what IDC calls tablets are such limited purpose commercial tablets. That'd leave 1/6 of IDC's tablet market for non-iPad/non-Kindle leisure tablets, so 25-30 million for 2019. I can't see Surface Go and OEM knock-offs raising that past 50 million, and some of those would replace Windows laptop or other Windows tablet sales.

          In summary, maybe 20 million additional Surface Go-like tablets in 2019, and I consider that a wildly optimistic estimate.

          • VancouverNinja

            In reply to hrlngrv:

            If they did 20 million Surface Go and Go like offerings from OEMs in 2019 I think that would be amazing. I think it will do less in 2019 but who knows.

            When I see tablets on a plane they are doing the following - 1. Games 2. Watching a video 3. reading a book. Very rarely do I see productivity in relation to the other uses. All of these which the Go can provide easily for a user. I travel frequently throughout the year.

            The Surface Go will see a rapid adoption in small business, education, and among Windows 10 users. I really am clueless as to what the actual volumes will look like but I do think it spells trouble for Android tablets, some iPad sales, and will be a wall to Chromebooks in their only market - the K-5 educational space.

  9. Jorge Garcia

    Some baseline level of PC's (defined as units that run a full-boat OS like Windows/MacOS/Linux) will be needed for professional uses for quite some time...but I expect that number to drop a bit more over the next 10-15 years as Google (and Apple) set their hearts and eyes on replacing Windows and MacOS for as many use cases as possible. So, yes, hardcore Excel, Photoshop, Lightroom, etc... will still mandate the purchase of a a full PC/OS for a good long time...but I can easily envision entire business that are more "clerical" in nature switching completely over to iOS or Google's forthcoming Project Fuchsia in the not too distant future...and that would further cut into the "baseline" PC sales that has been established. For example, I've noted that all the Lyft field agents I see at Pep Boys use Chromebooks to manage their workflow, whereas only a few years ago some clunky, propietary win32 "LyftCustServ.exe" application would have forced Lyft to buy their agents windows/Mac machines instead, and maintain those machines at great cost (IT staff). Similarly, I see ALMOST NO ONE buying a full-OS PC for their home pretty soon...they are just not needed when you can get a Chromebook/Android Laptop/iPad Pro to handle almost any home-based task. The only exception would be for homes that include a "hardcore" gamer, which perhaps is not insignificant these days.

  10. Simard57

    It would be interesting to see what does growth looks like in the other tech sectors such as Tablets, 2-in-1s, Smart Phones and Chromebooks? I seem to recall that the tablet market has crested already and phones may plateau soon.

    Maybe PCs are doing better than tablets?


    • hrlngrv

      In reply to Simard57:

      Re phones in use, haven't they reached roughly 1 phone for every 3 humans? Figure 1/3 of humanity can't actually afford phones, and figure that the lower the median age in a country, the less likely children under 12 would have phones, and we may have reached the point where 90-95% of people who can afford a smartphone already have one, and the hold-outs are either too cheap or too militantly luddite to buy one. IOW, future phone sales may track with worldwide median real income growth and worldwide population growth, so forget double-digit annual % growth going forward.

      • Simard57

        In reply to hrlngrv:

        might be seeing saturation across the board with PCs (Laptops and 2-in-1s), tablets and phones with each reaching a plateau in sales with little to no growth. what will the next big thing be?

        I always knew that this internet thing was a fad <smile>!

  11. JustMe

    I am curious as to what drove the growth (modest or not). Once upon a time, the upgrade cycle for PCs was roughly every 3 years. These days, that number is 5 years - and if you plan it right with targeted upgrades and the right motherboard/CPU combo, possibly longer. I think one of the reasons for the alleged death of the PC industry is that the performance gain curve flattened out. Hardware these days is quite good and the software that runs on that hardware is more efficient, so you are getting more life out of your purchase. It will be interesting to see what this 'bump' is caused by. I do wonder if part of what we are seeing is deferred upgrades (businesses and customers not biting on Windows 8 devices and waiting further to see how Windows 10 panned out) - meaining that upgrades that would normally have happened a few years ago were delayed and now that legacy hardware is either failing or not meeting requirements any longer thereby 'forcing' upgrades, effecting a 'bump' in the PC industry.

    • LocalPCGuy

      In reply to JustMe:

      I believe that you're mostly correct. However, it's been six years since Windows 8 was released and three since Windows 10 came out. A lot of businesses are long overdue to replace their aging machines. Most newer machines are more than adequate since much of what businesses do today is online, and not local.

  12. MikeGalos

    Which means that in the "Post-PC era" PCs are now growing faster than tablets or phones using "lightweight" operating systems.

    • Hifihedgehog2

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      The bottom line? People are finding a PC will always have a place since performance per pound continues to scales upward no matter what tricks you pull to squeeze in CPU horsepower into your palm. They are also finding that a big screen, a big physical keyboard, and a big desk are greatly preferable to and often more enjoyable than a tiny phone screen when doing real work.

      • MikeGalos

        In reply to Hifihedgehog2:

        Exactly. Or as Microsoft put it, not the "Post-PC Era" but the "PC Plus Era"

      • Jorge Garcia

        In reply to Hifihedgehog2:

        This is all true, but here's an interesting twist/ 75 year old mother recently discovered all those ergonomic preferences/shortcomings you just listed...and she quickly resolved them by purchasing a $129 "laptop" from Best Buy that runs pure Android on an 11.6" screen and runs all the exact same apps that she is used to having on her phone. So now she has a very comfortable keyboard to type on and a much larger screen for her to be er, productive, on...but did she buy a PC or not?

    • pecosbob04

      In reply to MikeGalos: "PCs are now growing faster than tablets OR phones using "lightweight" operating systems." Which of course is not the same as; "PCs are now growing faster than tablets AND phones using "lightweight" operating systems." and certainly doesn't constitute a trend.

    • Mike Widrick

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      But from what base? Mobile is already 2/3rds internet traffic and the vast majority of all device sales. It's not really a rivalry anymore.

      Post-PC always meant that PCs exist but are used as utilitarian devices. The most famous quote from Jobs specifically referenced PCs as trucks, which certainly still exist are a quite popular in some nations.

      • MikeGalos

        In reply to solomonrex:

        Seeing that when Jobs made that analogy the worldwide installed base of PCs was about one billion and now it's closing on two billion that's a pretty big "truck" market.

      • skane2600

        In reply to solomonrex:

        One should be careful about analogies, they can backfire on you. In the US the most popular vehicles are SUVs that are classified as trucks. So if Jobs' analogy is correct, PCs should be outselling smartphones and tablets.

        But, it was a poor analogy anyway.

      • VancouverNinja

        In reply to solomonrex:

        I almost laughed out loud at this line" ...which certainly still exist are a quite popular in some nations."

        You gotta be out of your tree if you think people don't prefer big screens and more efficient use on a PC/laptop/2in1 over a crappy little phone or tweener tablet. Mobility is simply convenience for people but not the preferred method for doing anything other than talking on a phone.

        Thanks for the humor though. ?

  13. lhavenst

    When you say HP, is that HP plus HPE or just HP? Lenovo and Dell would be the equivalent of HP plus HPE in both cases.

  14. madthinus

    The PC industry has two negatives in it. The first is that PC's are cannibalized by using mobile devices. The second part is that the performance profile has peaked and slowed. So the upgrade cycle 10 years ago was three years. Today that is 5 years. The fact that it is growing, even marginal, it is a good sign.

    • jimchamplin

      In reply to madthinus:

      For some, it’s longer. I average a new PC about every ten years. Most of my PC purchases never get counted because I buy used systems

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to jimchamplin:

        I've bought mini PCs for home for the last 10 years, and I haven't had problems with them. I'm no gamer, so I don't need to install graphics cards. Fewer parts plus AC power only so immobile means higher odds they keep chugging along while larger desktops and most laptops die from mechanical failures and other wear and tear.

      • lwetzel

        In reply to jimchamplin:

        I just recently picked up a refurbished HP EliteBook 8470p. I wanted an inexpensive device I could test Insider releases on . Wow what a beautiful machine and it is i5-3360M @ 2.8GHz 8GB Ram running Win10 Version 1803 Build 17713.1 and works like a charm. ~$300. Replaced my original Surface Pro whose battery swelled to the point it pushed the screen away and worried me regarding catching fire etc.

        This is to say I think your right used machines now days anyway can be just fine.