PC sales were up year-on-year in the second quarter of 2018, the first such increase since the first quarter of 2012. Market research firms Gartner and IDC both reported growth in the market, of 1.4 and 2.7 percent, respectively.
The two companies track numbers differently: Gartner includes Windows-based tablets but excludes Chromebooks and non-Windows tablets, whereas IDC includes Chromebooks but excludes all tablets, even those like the Surface Pro that are used and sold as PCs.
Gartner reports that the growth was driven by increased business sales and that consumer shipments declined. IDC similarly pointed to the “business-driven refresh cycle” as a reason for the increase. This mirrors Microsoft’s financial reporting; the software giant distinguishes between business and consumer sales of Windows and Office, and the general pattern over the last few quarters is that business sales have been robust even as consumer demand continues to soften. Enterprises are migrating to Windows 10, and they’re buying new hardware to do so.
Lenovo and HP continue to vie for the top spot as biggest PC seller. IDC had HP top of the pile at 23.9 percent of the market to Lenovo’s 22.1 percent. Gartner had them both at 21.9 percent of the market, with Lenovo narrowly beating HP to the top spot with 12,000 more sales. Both firms put Dell in a solid third place, followed by Apple and then Acer. Of the top five companies, Apple’s growth was reported to be the weakest year-on-year at three percent (Gartner) or 0.1 percent (IDC). In aggregate, these five vendors alone accounted for the vast majority of sales: 88.7 percent according to Gartner, 77.7 percent per IDC.
Looking forward, Gartner expects the business segment will weaken in two years as the migration to Windows 10 passes its peak.