Mon, Oct 14, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Global PC shipments increase, despite short supply

ALWAYS BE PREPARED:The 3% growth in shipments was largely because many PC makers had built up inventory, as they were worried about tariff increases, IDC said

By Chen Cheng-hui  /  Staff reporter

Despite supply constraints due to Intel Corp’s chip shortage, global PC shipments in the third quarter rose 3 percent compared with the same period last year, preliminary data from research firm International Data Corp (IDC) showed.

Shipments totaled 70.4 million units in the July-to-September period, compared with 68.4 million units a year earlier, IDC said in a report on Thursday.

Last quarter was the second consecutive quarter to record annual growth and the best quarter since the fourth quarter of 2017, when shipments totaled 70.8 million units, IDC data showed.

The US firm said that growing demand in the commercial segment, coupled with trade tensions between the US and China, which prompted many PC makers to build up inventory in preparation for higher tariffs, were the main reasons behind the global PC market’s performance last quarter.

Commercial PC demand should accelerate as enterprises complete their Windows 10 operating system upgrades, Linn Huang (黃林恩), IDC’s research vice president for devices and displays, said in a statement.

“The number of months until the end of service (EOS) date of Windows 7 can be counted on one hand. With January 14, 2020, drawing nigh, the commercial market should be able to digest the extra inventory over the next several quarters,” Huang said.

“Supply constraints may loom in subsequent quarters, so excess may not be a bad position for channel inventory through the remainder of the year,” he said.

Another breakdown released on Thursday by Gartner Inc said that global PC shipments increased by 1.1 percent year-on-year in the third quarter to 68.12 million units.

The rival researchers measure the market according to different calculations, as IDC defines PCs as desktops, notebooks and workstations, while Gartner categorizes them as desktops, notebooks and ultramobile premium devices, such as Microsoft’s Surface line.

Gartner does not include Chromebooks in its PC shipment calculations.

The researcher said that Chromebook sales growth has outpaced PC growth since it began tracking the market in 2012, but has shown signs of saturation in the North American market.

“While the worldwide Chromebook market grew in the third quarter of 2019, preliminary research showed that the North American Chromebook market experienced a modest decline for the first time since its launch in 2011,” Gartner said.

However, IDC and Gartner posted similar rankings for the world’s top PC brands, with China’s Lenovo Group Ltd (聯想) once again taking the top position in the market, while the US’ HP Inc, Dell Inc and Apple Inc, and Taiwan’s Acer Inc (宏碁) rounded out the top five in that order.

“Margin improvement strengthened the positions of the top three vendors — Lenovo, HP and Dell — which was already significant. The top three vendors, as well as Acer Group, also experienced year-over-year growth in shipments in the third quarter of 2019,” Gartner said.

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