Sales of PCs might be down across the globe, but at least the North American market is looking up. Despite an overall decline of 5.2 percent in global PC sales in the second quarter of 2016, the U.S. market actually saw a 1.4 percent increase in sales over the previous year.
Those statistics come courtesy of Gartner Inc. The strength in U.S. sales last quarter may be cold comfort for PC manufacturers, as North America was the only region in the world to post positive growth figures year on year, reaching sales of 15.2 million in Q2, according to Gartner.
Mild Growth After a Year of Decline
In addition to dour news from the rest of the world, the numbers posted by the U.S. are hardly anything to write home about. The increase in sales comes after five consecutive quarters of falling demand for PCs, meaning the overall trend for PC sales in the U.S. is anything but certain.
"While vendors and channels generally have more optimistic expectations of PC sales compared with the past, there is still a chance to have a potential inventory built," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, in a statement. "This will depend on how PC market demand picks up in the second half of this year for both the business and consumer segments."
Kitagawa said the second and third quarters are typically when the public sector in the U.S. buys PCs. "Positive second-quarter results could suggest healthy PC sales activities among the public sectors," Kitagawa said. "There is an opportunity for a Windows 10 refresh among businesses, which we expect to see more toward the end of 2016 to the beginning of 2017."
Dell came out on top last quarter, with more than 4 million units shipped, representing a 27 share of the U.S. market, and good for an increase of almost nine percent over the same period last year. It was followed by HP, with 26.3 percent of the market, and Lenovo in third place with 14.5 percent market share.
Challenges and Opportunities
Globally, on the other hand, Lenovo was the top seller, shipping more than 13 million units and taking 20.5 percent of the market despite an overall sales decline of 2.2 percent for the company worldwide. HP again came in second with 19.1 percent of the market, with Dell bringing up the rear with 15.2 percent.
But despite seven consecutive months of falling sales, Kitagawa remained sanguine about the future of the sector as some potential signs of improvement are already starting to show.
"One of the ongoing problems in the PC market has been the price hike in selected regions due to the weakening local currency against the U.S. dollar," she said. "The price issue has impacted the EMEA and Latin America regions for the past year. However, PC shipment declines became rather modest in the second quarter compared with previous quarters, which suggests a fading currency impact."
Sales in Latin America were so bad, in fact, that they almost have nowhere to go but up. Kitagawa said last quarter's figures were some of the worst in the region's history. If economic and political conditions improve in some of Latin America’s largest markets, such as Brazil and Argentina, PC sales could see additional upside.
On the other hand, the second quarter figures don't really take into account the impact of the U.K.’s historic vote to leave the European Union. That decision, which took place at the end of June, will likely impact demand for the entire European market in the next several quarters. The British pound has already taken a massive hit versus the dollar, which could force U.K. enterprises to severely limit their PC purchases for the foreseeable future.
Posted: 2016-07-22 @ 11:37pm PT
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