PC holiday shipments worldwide rise for the first time in six years

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However, IDC analysts view this as a sign that the market is steadying out, pointing to 2017 as the most stable year for the market since 2011.

Worldwide shipments of PCs amounted to 71.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, down two percent compared to the same quarter in 2016.

In terms of geography, the Asia/Pacific and Latin America regions saw positive growth for PC shipments in 2017, while Europe, the Middle East, and Africa held steady, and the United States saw declines, according to the report. However despite the small quarterly growth of 0.7 percent, mobile devices are continuing to have a dampening effect on the global PC market.

These figures were echoed by IDC, which says the APeJ traditional PC market came in above their forecast in Q4 2017, with healthy demand for gaming PCs in Chinese markets bolstered by strong sales during the singles day promotion.

The PC market may finally be stabilizing after years of decline: In Q4 2017, worldwide shipments of PCs such as desktops, notebooks, and workstations increased 0.7% YOY, hitting 70.6 million units, according to a new report from IDC.

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Both analysts agreed on the rankings of the PC market's key players, with HP Inc. ranked first by shipments with a market share of around 23 percent, slightly ahead of Lenovo. The US continues to show steep declines, offsetting gains elsewhere.

IDC pins much of the blame on the first quarter of 2016, a period the firm says was constrained by high inventory, free Windows 10 upgrades and hard comparisons to commercial replacements in 2014 that were fueled by Microsoft ending support for Windows XP.

Which companies are on top?

HPQ continues to be the market leader in the space, followed by Lenovo, Dell, Apple AAPL, Asus and Acer Group.

For the full year, the top four vendors accounted for 64 percent of global PC shipments. Lenovo was still second in shipments, but saw minimal growth in Q4, while actual declining year over year.

They also both noted flat results from Lenovo, with a global decline in sales resulting largely from weak USA figures, despite growth in every other region. But commercial upgrades and improving consumer PC demand is driving growth.

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IDC's Chou has more or less similar views as he mentioned that "Enticed by a growing array of products that promise all-day battery life, high portability, and address emerging use cases that require more compute power, pockets of the consumer base are taking a serious look at these revamped PCs".

As per the data compiled by Gartner, the overall PC market was mainly adversely affected by weak demand for consumer PCs.

Although the overall PC market is still very challenging, the forward-looking statements of the research firms indicate that the PC industry is moving toward stabilization.

"The fourth quarter results confirmed again that PCs are no longer popular holiday gift items, but this does not mean that PCs will disappear from households", he says. Kitagawa of Gartner said that "the PC will become a more specialized, purpose-driven device".

Both firms agreed that consumers now look for more advanced and quality devices rather than low-cost PCs.

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Until the increased profitability in the long run, Kitagawa said the PC market will have to go through the shrinking phase caused by fewer PC users.

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