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Chromebooks strong in back-to-school sales, PC shipments data suggests

13 October, 2017, 13:51 | Author: Nadine Todd
  • Lenovo holds on as world's No 2 PC supplier amid signs of market stability

Hong Kong-listed Lenovo shipped 14.5 million personal computers worldwide in the quarter ended September 30 to corner a 21.6 per cent share of the global market, behind market leader HP's 22.8 per cent share on shipments of 15.3 million units, according to preliminary industry estimates from research firm IDC. Lenovo and Dell saw the smallest declines while the rest of the market was down 11.4 percent.

In the USA, according to Gartner, shipments were down 10 percent year-over-year, totaling 14.7 million units.

"Worldwide shipments totaled 67 million units, down 3.6% from the year-earlier quarter, and according to lead PC analyst Mika Kitagawa, what really hurt the business was a 10% drop in shipments in the USA market, which offset "signs of stabilization" in markets such as Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Japan and Latin America".

Lenovo was the No. 2 PC shipper in the third quarter, although Gartner said that the company is "in a downward trend with declining shipments in eight of the last 10 quarters".

The latest quarter continues the trend of a relatively stabilizing PC market after a very hard past few years in which sales continued to plummet each quarter.

Gartner data includes desk-based PCs, notebook PCs and ultramobile premiums, but not Chromebooks or iPads.

"Business PC demand, led by Windows 10 upgrades, continued to drive PC shipments across all regions, but its refresh schedule varies by region", Gartner principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa said in a statement. Hardware makers like HP Inc. and Dell Technologies risk upsetting business customers if they raise the prices of their PCs to offset the rising costs of components like flash memory.

DRAM shortages were particularly worse during the third quarter, Gartner said, compared with the first half of 2017. Apple ranks as the fifth vendor with a 6.9 percent share of the market and 4.6 million shipments. IDC says that back-to-school promotions actually helped boost results.

"Despite the overall contraction, Chromebooks remain a source of optimism as the category gains momentum in sectors outside education, especially in retail and financial services", IDC senior research analyst of devices and displays Neha Mahajan said in a statement.

Additionally, IDC reported that the components shortage actually improved this quarter and did not significantly slow down production volumes. HP shipped 14.5 million units, while Lenovo shipped 14.3 million. Still, it acknowledged that higher component pries and inventory limited shipments in some markets.

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