Mild improvement in 2Q17 PC shipments

Global PC shipments tilted just above the previous forecast.
Global PC shipments tilted just above the previous forecast.

Global shipments of traditional PCs (desktops, notebooks and workstations) totalled 60.5 million units in the second quarter of 2017 (2Q17), posting a year-on-year decline of 3.3%.

This is according to the International Data Corporation's (IDC's) Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker.

The research found second quarter shipment volumes showed only a modest uptick from the first quarter, tilting just above the previous forecast that called for a decline of 3.9%.

"One factor affecting shipments during the past several quarters was an inventory build-up caused by shortages of key components such as the solid state drive. The second quarter operated under less harsh constraints, though in some instances component shortages still played a role in driving shipment dynamics. Moreover, as expected, the increased bill of materials due to the shortage also began to impact the final price of systems, which was also factored into IDC's original assumption of inhibiting shipments," notes the report.

From a geographic perspective, IDC says mature markets generally outperformed emerging markets, with the EMEA traditional PC market showing further stability in 2Q17, primarily driven by the solid performance of notebook sales. Acceleration in mobility adoption was also a major contributor to the positive notebook results, exceeding IDC's expectations. However, desktop sales performed in line with forecast.

"Amid some unevenness in market trends across the regions, the global PC market has continued to trend toward stabilisation," says Jay Chou, research manager, IDC Worldwide Personal Computing Device Tracker.

"Despite recent issues wrought by component shortages and its effect on system prices, we expect the momentum of commercial market replacements will contribute to eventual market growth. Consumer demand will remain under pressure, although growth in areas like PC gaming and the increasingly attractive portfolio of sleek Windows-based systems will help push the consumer market to stabilise as well."

John Geypen, HP country category manager of computing, says 2016 was an "annus horribilis" for the computing industry in SA, with the combined tablet and traditional PC market declining by 15.6% compared to 2015.

"The biggest contributor to the decline was the tablet market, down by 22.1%, whereas the PC market only declined a moderate 9%.The positive news is that for 1Q 2017, while the tablet market continues to shrink, we have seen a remarkable recovery in the PC market, where for the first time in two years, we have seen both quarter-on-quarter and also year-on-year growth," he explains.

Gartner's latest traditional PC shipment report indicates global PC shipments totalled 61.1 million units in the second quarter of 2017, a 4.3% decline from the second quarter of 2016.

The PC industry is in the midst of a five-year slump with shipments in the second quarter of this year indicating the lowest quarter volume since 2007, notes Gartner.

"Higher PC prices due to the impact of component shortages for DRAM, solid state drives and LCD panels had a pronounced negative impact on PC demand in the second quarter of 2017," says Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner.

"The approach to higher component costs varied by vendor. Some decided to absorb the component price hike without raising the final price of their devices, while other vendors transferred the costs to the end-user price."

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