Global PC market shows slower fall as US demand bolsters sector

HP laptops and desktop PCs.
HP laptops and desktop PCs. PHOTO: HP

SAN FRANCISCO (BLOOMBERG) - Global personal-computer shipments fell 5.2 per cent in the second quarter, a slower rate of decline as demand in North America helped blunt weakness across the rest of the industry, Gartner Inc said.

PC makers shipped 64.3 million machines in the period, down from 67.9 million a year earlier, the market researcher said Monday (July 11) in a statement. The report follows a worldwide decline of about 11 per cent in the first quarter.

Unit sales in the US rose percent 1.4 per cent to 15.2 million, following five consecutive quarters of declines, Gartner said. Research firm IDC reported similar numbers.

The PC market is on course to shrink for the fifth straight year, and manufacturers have been struggling to regain footing as consumers increasingly access e-mail, social networks and even business tools on smartphones and other mobile devices. Yet the US is benefiting from business spending around Microsoft Windows 10 upgrades - along with interest in Alphabet Inc's Chromebooks, according to Jay Chou, an analyst with IDC.

Globally, Lenovo Group kept its perch atop the industry with 21 per cent of the market in the second quarter, Gartner said. No. 5 Apple Inc grabbed 7.1 per cent, unchanged from a year ago.

In the US, Dell was No 1 and HP was No 2, according to Gartner. IDC, however, reversed the companies' positions. Lenovo was third in US shipments and Apple, which showed declines in sales from a year earlier, placed fourth among PC makers, according to both research firms.

The market also globally is showing some signs of improvement as currency effects lessen, according to Mikako Kitagawa, an analyst with Gartner. One major factor that isn't clear is the vote in the UK to exit the European Union in late June, she added. That could lessen demand as products become more expensive locally and the economy as a whole suffers.