PC shipments have waned in the past decade, but a recent report from research firm Gartner points to a possible change in this trend. To that end Gartner says that worldwide PC shipments grew 2.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019 and 0.6 percent for the year with 261 million units.

While the margin is small, it does represent a growth for the market in quite some time, the firm points out.

The PC market experienced growth for the first time since 2011, driven by vibrant business demand for Windows 10 upgrades, particularly in the US, EMEA and Japan,” says Mikako Kitagawa, senior principal analyst at Gartner.

“We expect this growth to continue through this year even after Windows 7 support comes to an end this month, as many businesses in emerging regions such as China, Eurasia and the emerging Asia/Pacific have not yet upgraded,” she adds. 

The need for said businesses to purchase new hardware creates an optimistic outlook for the future, and currently it is the enterprise environment which is leading unit sales for PCs, with the consumer end still sliding.

“Contrasted against the ongoing weakness in consumer PC demand, business PC demand has led to unit growth in five of the last seven quarters,” notes Kitagawa.

“The ongoing Intel CPU shortage, which began mid-last year, became a major issue again on PC delivery to enterprise customers by the top three vendors. Without this shortage, shipments would have grown faster than the reported results,” she continues.

Company 2019
Shipments
2019 Market
Share
2018
Shipments
2018 Market Share 2019 – 2018 Growth
Lenovo 62 968 24.1 percent 58 257 22.4 percent 8.1 percent
HP Inc. 57 922 22.2 percent 56 252 21.7 percent 3 percent
Dell 43 956 16.8 percent 41 790 16.1 percent 5.2 percent
Apple 18 350 7 percent 18 522 7.1 percent -0.9 percent
Acer 14 762 5.7 percent 15 729 6.1 percent -6.1 percent
ASUS 14 476 5.5 percent 15 425 5.9 percent -6.2 percent
Others 48 804 18.7 percent 53 788 20.7 percent 0.6 percent
Total 261 237 100 259 763 100 0.6

As Gartner aims to predict what the market will do moving forward, the consumer side of things is expected to decline. That said, innovation will form a key area of focus for many vendors if they wish to turnaround this trend.

“We’ve already started to see this through the ‘foldable laptops’ introduced at CES this past week along with initiatives that make PCs as easy as smartphones by allowing users to always be connected and ensuring a worry-free battery life,” the analyst explains.

“Such innovations that change user behaviour and create new product segments are something to keep an eye on in 2020 and beyond,” concludes Kitagawa.