Lenovo, HP Lead PC Market As Shipment Declines Continue

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The global PC market continues to face the aspect of declining shipments, but the US market for computers shows signs of resilience during the second quarter of 2016, according to new numbers. Lenovo and HP are leading the market.

The PC industry marked its seventh consecutive quarter of shipment declines, according to research firms Gartner and IDC, with the former reporting worldwide PC shipments totaling 64.3 million units in the second quarter of 2016, a 5.2% slide from the second quarter of 2015.

In the US, PC shipments totaled 15.2 million units in the second quarter of 2016, a 1.4 % increase from the second quarter of 2015, the Gartner report noted -- a small bright spot for the industry.

IDC and Gartner noted Lenovo maintained the top position in worldwide PC shipments in the second quarter of 2016, with 13.2 million computers shipped despite a 2.2% decline in units from the same period last year.

Following Lenovo, HP Inc. landed in second place, with a marketshare of 19.1% and shipments of 12.3 million PCs, while Dell ended up in third place, with a 15.2% marketshare and 9.8 million computers shipped.

Asus, with 7.3% of marketshare and around 4.7 million units shipped, and Apple, which shipped 4.5 million computers and took 7.1% of the market, rounded out the top five.

However, even Apple, couldn't escape the declining fortunes of the market. The company saw Mac shipments decline by more than 8% from the second quarter of 2015 to the second quarter of this year, according to the IDC report, which cited Apple's lack of a refresh for its Mac lineup.

IDC reported shipments of 62.4 million units in the second quarter and noted that the US market performed best. That fact reflects the strength of the US dollar and relative market stability.

In other parts of the world, particularly Latin America, political and economic instability have negatively affected the PC market to an unusually severe degree.

"PC shipments in Latin America are expected to fall below 5 million units for the second quarter of 2016, which is a decline of more than 20 percent from the second quarter of 2015," Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, wrote in a July 11 statement. "These shipment results would be some of the lowest in the history of the Latin America PC industry."

Despite the extended decline in shipments, Gartner and IDC found reasons to expect the market will eventually rebound, thanks in part to improved inventory levels, which are poised to put the market on a better footing for the second half of the year.

In addition, IDC noted the expiration of free Windows 10 upgrades, which could transition some users into buying new systems instead of updating older ones.

[Read why Dell killed off its Android tablet business.]

In the IDC report, Loren Loverde, the firm's vice president for Worldwide PC Trackers and Forecasting, noted that slight uptick in PC shipments in the US could provide a blueprint for a small market recovery over the next several months:

The PC market continues to struggle as we wait for replacements to accelerate, along with some return of spending from phones, tablets, and other IT. Our long-term outlook remains cautions. However, the strong results in the U.S. offer a glimpse of what the market could look like with pockets of growth and a stronger overall environment. It's not dramatic growth, but it could push the market into positive territory slightly ahead of our forecast for 2018.

In other regions of the world, Japan performed better than forecast and posted solid year-on-year growth, though IDC noted that a slowing economic outlook dampened demand.

The Gartner report noted that Britain's decision to leave the European Union, commonly known as Brexit, had no impact in the second quarter beyond the steadily weaker pound since the referendum was announced in 2015.

However, post-Brexit, sterling was sharply weaker against the dollar, and the report stated that this would stoke price increases that would likely cause downward pressure on fourth-quarter sales in the UK.

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