Lenovo maintained its pole position in the PC market, holding off HP and Dell. However, the gap between Lenovo and HP narrowed as HP garnered 18.8 percent of the market in Q4, relative to Lenovo’s 19.4 percent, according to Gartner. Dell remained third with 12.7 percent market share.
Overall, worldwide PC shipment totalled 83.7 million units in Q4, a one-percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2013. These results indicate a slow, but consistent improvement following more than two years of decline.
“The PC market is quietly stabilising after the installed base reduction driven by users diversifying their device portfolios. Installed base PC displacement by tablets peaked in 2013 and the first half of 2014. Now that tablets have mostly penetrated some key markets, consumer spending is slowly shifting back to PCs,” said Mikako Kitagawa, Principal Analyst of Gartner.
“The fourth quarter of 2014 was the best holiday for PC sales in recent history. The primary driver was mobile PCs including regular notebooks, thin and light notebooks and 2-1s. Low priced notebooks with about a US$300-200 price point boosted shipments while thin/light notebooks and two-in-ones (laptops with a detachable or bendable screen) showed strong growth. These results supports our assumption that consumer spending is returning to the PC as tablet penetration has reached the majority of the market,” she added.
The Asia-Pacific PC market showed a modest recovery as PC shipment totalled 26.6 million units in Q4, a two-percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2013. Though as a region the news is positive, there are still growth variations by country. The overall trend is towards a slowdown of declining growth with mature markets in Asia/Pacific leading the recovery. This bottoming out of the market suggests that the installed base is stabilising, and replacement demand is recovering.
“However, consumers continue to be attracted to smartphones, especially in emerging markets such as China and India where it is increasingly difficult for PC vendors to convince consumers to put priority on PC purchases. Users here are more focused on content consumption or on specific tasks where functions can be handled by a smartphone. Coupled with limited disposable income, these buyers are delaying PC purchases if they do not see the need, therefore making the consumer market more lacklustre than what it used to be,” said Kitagawa.