PC Market Flat-Lined in Q3 2018

Posted on October 11, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Hardware, Windows 10 with 22 Comments

PC sales were flat in the quarter ending September 31. But there was one surprise: Lenovo regained the top spot in the market, displacing HP.

“Weakness in consumer PC demand continued in the third quarter, offsetting the strong sales in the business market,” Gartner’s Mikako Kitagawa said, explaining the results.

“The outlook remains uncertain as we head into the holiday season, when volume will be boosted by many consumer-oriented promotions in entry-level SKUs,” IDC’s Jay Chou added.

Overall, PC makers sold 67.3 million PCs in the quarter, down slightly—let’s call it flat—from the 67.6 million units they sold a year earlier. Given the recent state of the market—after watching PC sales fall for six straight years, this year, we’ve experienced at least one quarter of tiny growth—we’ll take it as a win.

Lenovo emerged as the top PC maker for the first time in several years, having sold slightly more than 16 million PCs in the quarter. HP fell to second place with 15 million units sold.

Perhaps this shouldn’t have been surprising: In August, [Lenovo reported that it had experienced a PC sales surge in the quarter](highest growth in four years), its highest growth in four years. HP, meanwhile, warned of its declining unit sales in traditional PCs.

As for the rest of the industry, not much changed year-over-year or quarter-over-quarter. Dell, Acer, and Apple rounded out the top five, as usual. And if you look just at Gartner’s numbers, and only at the U.S. market, Microsoft somehow managed to crack the top five for the first time ever. That Surface Go must be selling like gangbusters.

Looking ahead, Gartner noted that Intel’s recent warning about meeting PC chipset demand could have a short-term impact on PC sales that result in higher prices and “changes to the vendor landscape,” which I assume means further consolidation. IDC, meanwhile, noted an “uncertain” outlook.


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