Published: October 11th, 2018

Lenovo has reclaimed the number one spot in global PC shipments despite a slight decline in overall shipments according to preliminary results of the third quarter of 2018 from the International Data Corporation (IDC).

The Chinese technology company had fallen below HP Inc. in the first quarter of this year but has jumped back to the top spot since with 24 per cent of the global market share. IDC attributes Lenovo’s resurgence to the last year’s push to control stakes in Fujitsu’s PC business and improvement in its North American market “in the wake of a revamped channel strategy and more stable management.”

PC shipments had been on the decline until last quarter when it grew for the first time since 2012, but unfortunately that trend continue this last quarter, with a decline of .9 per cent from the same time last year. However, despite not keeping the upward trend, the third quarter did perform better than expected, stated the IDC report, which it had forecasted to decline by 3 per cent.

According to IDC “heading into quarter three there were some concerns about processor shortages” but the smaller than expected decline was likely due to “pockets of strong demand as well as focus on increasing inventory ahead of further supply issues and expected price hikes.” It also stated that all regions exceeded the expected forecast of shipments except for Latin America and Asia/Pacific, which saw declines from the same time last year.

The U.S. and Japan both had strong results according to the report, with Japan’s commercial activity led by replacement PCs bought at the time of Windows 7 end of service likely helping to overcome the 3 per cent expected decline. The U.S. market had another quarter of growth with a total of 17.2 million units shipped and a growing demand for notebook style PCs that led to Microsoft taking the top five PC maker’s list for the first time in the U.S., with its shipments of Surface products giving the company a 4.1 per cent share in the market, according to Gartner.

Overall the top five worldwide PC makers stayed the same, with Lenovo reclaiming the top spot but HP coming in a close second with 22.8 per cent market share, followed by Dell Inc., Acer Group and Apple. Taiwan-based Acer saw the largest growth (8.5 per cent), beating out Apple for fourth spot with the California-based company falling to fifth thanks to an 11 per cent decline, the only company on the list to see major decline this quarter.

For the fourth quarter both IDC and Gartner are predicting CPU shortages may have an effect on the coming fourth quarter, with Gartner stating, “while this shortage will have some short-term impacts, [we] do not see any lasting impact on overall PC demand. Current expectation is that the shortage will continue into 2019, but Intel will prioritize the high-end CPU as well as the CPUs for business PCs.”

“The outlook remains uncertain as we head into the holiday season, when volume will be boosted by many consumer-oriented promotions in entry-level SKUs,” said Jay Chou, research manager with IDC’s personal computing device tracker. Both organizations argue that Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD), Intel’s largest rival, will have to fill supply demands for processors where Intel cannot.