For first time in a decade, PC sales slip below 63 million

SAN FRANCISCO — Another quarter, another decline in PC shipments.

The personal computer market extended its gradual descent in the first three months of this year despite modest growth in business sales and a saturated smartphone market, according to market researcher Gartner. For the first time in a decade, worldwide shipments dipped below 63 million.

"The whole mechanism of consumer computing usage is through smartphones," says Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa. "We go to sleep and wake up to them. You maybe open your personal laptop once a day, but your smartphone is an indispensable item in your daily life."

Shipments of PCs totaled 62.2 million, a decline of 2.4% from the same quarter a year ago, Gartner said in preliminary results released on Tuesday. The last time global PC shipments rose, albeit 0.1%, was in the third quarter of 2014.

As consumer interest lagged, competition for business PC sales intensified among the top three vendors in the world — Lenovo, HP Inc. and Dell — the Gartner report said.

Lenovo was tops, with 12.4 million shipments (19.9% of the market). HP was a close second, with 12.1 million (19.5%), and it showed the strongest growth, especially in the U.S. Dell was No. 3, at 9.4 million PCs shipped, or 15% of the market.

Apple, whose iPhone was a major influence in how people changed their use of technology the past 10 years, was fifth in shipments. It moved 4.2 million Macintoshes, good for 6.8% globally, according to Gartner.

In the U.S., 12.3 million units were shipped in the first quarter, also down 2.4% from the year-ago quarter. HP, Dell and Lenovo finished 1-2-3. Apple was fourth.

Gartner's findings were released the same day as a report from rival researcher IDC that showed a slight uptick in PC shipments worldwide.

IDC claimed shipments of traditional PCs — defined as desktops, notebooks and workstations — inched up 0.6% to 60.3 million units in the first quarter of 2017, its first gain since the second quarter of 2012. It had previously forecast a decline of 1.8% for the quarter.

IDC's top-four for global PC shipments in the quarter were HP, Lenovo, Dell and Apple. It says HP reclaimed the top spot for the first time since Q1 2013, with 13.1 million shipments, or 21.8% of the market. Lenovo shipped 12.3 million (20.4%), IDC said.

Follow USA TODAY's San Francisco Bureau Chief Jon Swartz @jswartz on Twitter.

© 2017 USATODAY.COM


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