Computer

PC Sales Keep Falling, But Big Manufacturers Are Doing Just Fine

The Why Axis PC Shipments 2009-2018

The desktop and laptop markets have seen a slow and steady decline since the mobile device boom, but the top PC vendors haven’t been hit as hard by shrinking sales as you might think.

The Why Axis BugAccording to the latest Gartner report on worldwide PC shipments, 61.7 million PCs were shipped in the first quarter of 2018. That’s a 1.4 percent decline from Q1 2017, and the 14th straight quarter of declining sales since Q2 2012. But while overall PC sales have steadily declined, the top manufacturers have maintained a relatively steady course—with some, like Lenovo, even gaining ground.

Statistic: Quarterly personal computer (PC) vendor shipments worldwide, from 2009 to 2018, by vendor (in million units) ' Statista

HP, Lenovo and Dell, the top three vendors, accounted for 56.9 percent of global PC shipments in Q1 2018, up from 54.5 percent in Q1 2017, even as the industry at large has shrunk; Dell’s sales have increased 6.5 percent year over year. Since early 2012, the big three manufacturers have seen pretty consistent fluctuations (lows in Q1, highs in Q4) but kept up relatively consistent sales. Asus, with a much smaller market share, has also stayed consistent—between around 4 to 5.5 million shipments a quarter.

The declining market is made up of everyone else. Acer sales have fallen by more than half since 2012, from 9.74 million units in Q2 2012 to 3.83 in Q1 2018. More important, the market cap outside the major vendors has evaporated. Outside of Apple, Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Toshiba, the rest of the industry has plummeted from a high of 40.68 million units sold in Q3 2011 to 14.61 million in Q1 2018. As the market continues to shrink, there’s simply less and less room for the little guys to make a profit.

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