Windows XP upgrades give global PC shipments a (small) boost
IDC and Gartner have released their worldwide PC shipment estimates for the first quarter of 2014 (1Q14), and as expected they once again show a year on year decline, but the severity of the drop has eased compared with the past seven quarters -- thanks, in part, to XP users upgrading their aging systems.
"The end of XP support by Microsoft on April 8 has played a role in the easing decline of PC shipments," says Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "All regions indicated a positive effect since the end of XP support stimulated the PC refresh of XP systems. Professional desktops, in particular, showed strength in the quarter. Among key countries, Japan was greatly affected by the end of XP support, registering a 35 percent year-over-year increase in PC shipments. The growth was also boosted by sales tax change. We expect the impact of XP migration worldwide to continue throughout 2014".
According to Gartner, global PC shipments totaled 76.6 million units in the first quarter, a 1.7 percent decline from the first quarter of 2013. IDC puts the shipment figure at 73.4 million units for a year on year a decline of 4.4 percent.
In the US the market has stabilized, shrinking by a mere 0.6 percent from the same quarter a year ago, according to IDC. Rival analyst firm Gartner actually shows a 2.1 percent increase in that market, and Gartner’s Kitagawa sounds a cautious note of positivity: "In terms of the major structural shift of the PC market, the US market is ahead of other regions. The installed base of PCs started declining in 2013, while the worldwide installed base still grew. The U.S. PC market has been highly saturated with devices: 99 percent of households own at least one or more desktops or laptops, and more than half of them own both. While tablet penetration is expected to reach 50 percent in 2014, some consumer spending could return to PCs".
IDC’s Rajani Singh, Senior Research Analyst, Personal Computing, is more pessimistic, however. "PC shipment growth in the United States remained slightly faster than most other regions in the first quarter. However, the passing boost from XP replacements, constrained consumer demand, and no clear driver of a market rebound are expected to keep growth below zero going forward. A rebound in consumer or a continuation of accelerated commercial upgrades could boost growth slightly, but low demand for upgrades in general combined with competition from tablets and 2-in-1 systems limit the growth potential".
Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 1Q14 (Units)
1Q14 Market Share (%)
1Q13 Market Share (%)
1Q13-1Q14 Growth (%)
Note: Data includes desk-based PCs and mobile PCs, including x86 tablets equipped with Windows 8, but excludes Chromebooks and other tablets.
Source: Gartner (April 2014)