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

Posted on July 15, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Chromebook, Hardware, Mac and macOS, Windows 10 with 55 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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