Worldwide PC shipments totaled 51.6 million units in the first quarter of 2020, a 12.3% decline from the first quarter of 2019, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. After three consecutive quarters of growth, the worldwide PC market experienced its sharpest decline since 2013 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“The single most significant influencing factor for PC shipment decline was the coronavirus outbreak, which resulted in disruptions to both the supply and demand of PCs,” said Mikako Kitagawa, research director at Gartner. “Following the first lockdown in China in late January, there was lower PC production volume in February that turned into logistics challenges.
“Once coronavirus-related lockdowns expanded to other regions, there were new, sudden pockets of PC demand for remote workers and online classrooms that PC manufacturers could not keep up with. This quarter’s vendor results underscore the growing economic uncertainties that are tightening PC spending, especially among small and midsize businesses. This uncertainty, coupled with the end of the Windows 10 upgrade peak, is causing enterprises to shift their IT budgets away from PCs and toward strategic business continuity planning. We will start seeing enterprises and consumers alike extending their PC life cycles on a more permanent basis as they focus on preserving cash,” said Ms. Kitagawa.
Despite the impact of COVID-19, the top three vendors’ market share remained unchanged from the previous quarter. They accounted for 65.6% of PC shipments in the first quarter of 2020, up from just over 60% in the first quarter of 2019 (see Table 1).
Although Lenovo maintained its No. 1 position in the worldwide PC market, its shipments declined 3.2% in the first quarter of 2020 and 22.6% year over year in Asia Pacific. HP Inc. had a challenging first quarter, with a 12.1% decline in PC shipments after three consecutive quarters of shipment growth. HP recorded double digit shipment declines in all key regions, taking the hardest hit in desk-based PCs in Asia Pacific and Japan.
Dell was the only top vendor that showed year over year shipment growth – rising 2.2% – despite the impact from COVID-19. Dell’s shipments grew in all regions in the first quarter of 2020, except in Asia Pacific. Growth was particularly strong in the Americas where Dell experienced relatively stable business PC demand until March. The first quarter of 2020 was the company’s ninth consecutive quarter of shipment growth.
PC shipments varied by region depending on the timing of the given government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. Because coronavirus impacts were most apparent in the U.S. later on in the first quarter of 2020, the U.S. PC market actually grew 0.8%. However, PC shipments showed a steep sequential decline of 30.2% compared to last quarter.
Dell and HP Inc. swapped spots in the U.S. based on shipments, with Dell taking just over 31% of the PC market share (see Table 2).
Asia Pacific showed the worst year over year decline of 27.1% since Gartner started tracking the PC market. With COVID-19 originating in China, the country was the largest contributor to this decline as all business, government and consumer activities came to a halt in February. Overall PC shipments in China dropped by over 30% compared to a year ago. Deskbased PCs, the primary commercial PC type for the government and education organizations, experienced the biggest drop of nearly 40%. Mobile PCs declined less – 20% – as notebook demands were driven by remote employees and e-learning students.
PC shipments in EMEA declined 7% year over year to 16.8 million units and will likely continue to decline through 2020. The end of the first quarter saw a dramatic drop in both business and consumer PC purchases due to intense COVID-19 related lockdown measures across various countries in the region.