Inventory and Processor Supply Issues Weigh Against Holiday PC Shipments, According to IDC


Inventory and Processor Supply Issues Weigh Against Holiday PC Shipments, According to IDC

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–lt;a href=」」 target=」_blank」gt;#IDCTrackerlt;/agt;–Preliminary results for the fourth quarter of 2018 (4Q18) showed

shipments of traditional PCs (desktop, notebook, and workstation)

totaled just over 68.1 million units, marking a decline of 3.7% in

year-on-year terms, according to the International Data Corporation ( IDC )


. The results slightly

outperformed the forecast, which called for a decline of 4.7%, but also

produced the largest year-on-year decline since the third quarter of

2016 (3Q16) and capped the full year at a nearly flat rate of -0.4%.

Inventory and Processor Supply Issues Weigh Against Holiday PC Shipments, According to IDC

Heading into the quarter there was industry-wide concern over processor

shortages and rising economic tensions between the U.S. and China.

Aggressive stocking of inventory during the previous quarter (3Q18) in

anticipation of the shortage led to some sell-through challenges,

driving a reduction of Q4 shipments in some regions. The fourth quarter

is typically oriented toward consumer promotions that help drive the

industry』s biggest quarter of the year, but the confluence of events in

2018 led to the lowest sequential growth for a holiday quarter since the

fourth quarter of 2012.

Nonetheless, the market performed better than expected, with corporate

PC refresh – driven by the looming Windows 7 end of life (EOL) in

January 2020 – helping to offset consumer market challenges. Japan had

an especially strong quarter driven by commercial refresh, which lifted

virtually all aspects of the market. All regions except the U.S.

exceeded the forecast, although Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) faced

challenges from a difficult Chinese commercial environment.

「The ongoing economic tensions between China and the United States

continue to create a lot of uncertainty in the business environment in

China. As demand for Chinese products in the U.S. drops, this

particularly impacts businesses of all sizes from the manufacturing

sector in China, which, in turn, translates to a drop in IT purchases by

these companies,」 said


, research manager with IDC』s Asia/Pacific Client Devices

Group. 「As a result, the PC market in China is expected to suffer bigger

declines throughout the year. And if the trade war escalates further, we

should expect spillover of the impact to other countries, particularly

due to the expected fluctuations of the exchange rates impacting

businesses across the region.」

「As the U.S. PC market, especially the lower-end, continued to suffer

from the ongoing shortfall of Intel CPUs, overall PC sales took a hit

during the fourth quarter of 2018,」 said


, senior research analyst with IDC』s Devices and Displays

Group. 「While the processor supply challenges are expected to continue

into the first two quarters of 2019, PC makers are likely to see the

situation improve before the back-to-school season begins during the

latter half of the year.」

Regional Highlights

USA : The traditional PC market in the U.S. saw a modest uptick in

volume from the year prior. Total shipments for the quarter reached 16.7

million units, which was slightly below forecast. Commercial shipments

remained fairly robust during the quarter, thanks to the ongoing Windows

10 refresh cycle. While market leader HP saw its year-over-year volumes

modestly decline (despite a quarter-over-quarter improvement), the other

top five vendors mostly saw volumes improve.

Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA): The traditional PC market

was negative in 4Q18 for the first time in six quarters with both

desktop and notebooks reporting a moderate decline. This weakening of

the market stemmed from the ongoing component shortages and was further

impacted by a level of disruption and uncertainty arising from

challenging geopolitical and economic scenarios within major economies

in the region.

Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) (APeJ): The traditional PC market

in APeJ posted a single-digit decline in 4Q18, which was relatively

close to IDC』s forecast. Overstock in the channels, coupled with Intel

CPU shortages, impacted sell-in across the region. In India, a

significant drop in consumer demand together with high inventory

remaining in the channels led to a stronger than expected decline in the

consumer and SMB segments, while Intel supply shortages led to a drop in

sales to the enterprise customers. In China, the commercial PC market

came in below expectations, impacted by Intel CPU shortages and slowness

in spending from the public sector, while U.S.-China trade issues had a

negative effect on demand from the private sector.

Japan : Corporate Windows 10 refresh entered its final phase and

helped to beat expectations for 4Q18, with growth among virtually all

OEMs, although multinational OEMs reaped most of the benefits.

Company Highlights

Lenovo maintained its status as the top OEM in the traditional PC

space, and one of only two top 5 companies to post growth in the quarter

compared to a year ago. Its US operation continued to recover from a

year ago. In APeJ, Lenovo felt increased pressure from HP and Dell, and

posted the largest decline within the region among the three vendors.

HP Inc. declined 3.2% worldwide mostly due to a challenging

quarter in the Americas. The company fell below market growth in the

U.S. where unfavorable comparisons arose due to strong results in 4Q17.

At the same time the company weathered the APeJ market slide better than

many of its rivals and tied with Lenovo in global market share in the

region for all of 2018.

Dell Inc. had the strongest year-on-year growth among the top

OEMs at 1.6% for the quarter and ended 2018 growing 5.6% over 2017, also

the strongest among the top OEMs.

Apple remained in the fourth position with market share of 7.2%

and year-on-year growth of -3.8%. Both desktop and notebook shipments

saw year-on-year declines in 4Q18.

Acer Group took fifth place with market share of 6.7% and a

year-on-year decline of 8.5%. Acer continues to compete in the gaming

space, which remains a big focus for the company in 2019, but challenges

within the component constraints likely affected its overall consumer

business in 4Q18.

Top Companies, Worldwide Traditional PC Shipments, Market Share


results, shipments are in thousands of units)




4Q18 Market




4Q17 Market




1. Lenovo *16,75724.6%16,54923.4%1.3%
2. HP16,05523.6%16,58123.4%-3.2%
3. Dell Inc11,25916.5%11,07815.7%1.6%
4. Apple4,9227.2%5,1197.2%-3.8%
5. Acer Group4,5486.7%4,9707.0%-8.5%
Total 68,134 100.0% 70,722 100.0% -3.7%
Lenovo (excluding Fujitsu volume in 4Q17) **16,75724.6%15,69122.2%6.8%
Source: IDC Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker, January 10,

See Table Notes below the second table.

In addition to the table above, a graphic illustrating worldwide market

share (based on shipments) for the top 5 Traditional PC companies over

the previous five quarters is available by viewing


press release on


Top Companies, Worldwide Traditional PC Shipments, Market Share

and Year-Over-Year Growth, Calendar Year 2018

results, shipments are in thousands of units)




2018 Market




2017 Market




1. HP59,98623.2%58,80922.6%2.0%
2. Lenovo*59,85723.2%58,04922.4%3.1%
3. Dell Inc44,17017.1%41,82216.1%5.6%
4. Apple18,0217.0%19,0107.3%-5.2%
5. Acer Group17,8416.9%18,0336.9%-1.1%
Total 258,497 100.0% 259,647 100.0% -0.4%
Lenovo (excluding Fujitsu volume in 2017) **59,85723.2%54,84521.1%9.1%
Source: IDC Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker, January 10,

Table Notes:

* Due to the Joint Venture between Lenovo and Fujitsu, which took effect

in 2Q18, data for Lenovo in the top line includes Fujitsu volume for

both 4Q18 (16.8 million units) and 4Q17 (16.5 million units). The same

logic applies to the table for Calendar Year 2018.

** For year-on-year comparison, an extra line has been added below the

table to show what Lenovo』s growth would have looked like excluding

Fujitsu volume through to 1Q18.

  • Some IDC estimates prior to financial earnings reports. Data for all
    companies are reported for calendar periods.
  • Shipments include shipments to distribution channels or end users. OEM
    sales are counted under the company/brand under which they are sold.
  • Traditional PCs include Desktops, Notebooks, and Workstations and do
    not include Tablets or x86 Servers. Detachable Tablets and Slate
    Tablets are part of the Personal Computing Device Tracker but are not
    addressed in this press release.


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About IDC Trackers


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About IDC

International Data Corporation (IDC) is the

premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and

events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer

technology markets. With more than 1,100 analysts worldwide, IDC offers

global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry

opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. IDC』s analysis and

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Ryan Reith

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Maciek Gornicki

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Michael Shirer

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Inventory and Processor Supply Issues Weigh Against Holiday PC Shipments, According to IDC

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