The PC market either fell to its lowest point in a decade or grew for the first time in years: Take your pick

Depending on which report you choose to believe, the global PC market either grew by 0.6 percent or fell by 2.4 percent when compared to last year.


Depending on which report you choose to believe, the global PC market either grew by 0.6 percent or fell by 2.4 percent when compared to last year.

The two conflicting reports come from market analysis firms Gartner and International Data Corporation (IDC), both very reliable sources of information in these matters.

IDC’s press release states that the total PC shipments in Q1 2017 totalled 60.3 million units. This suggests a growth of 0.6 percent compared to last year, which is, by IDC’s estimates, the first growth the market has seen since Q1 2012.

According to IDC, the top 5 vendors are HP, Lenovo, Dell, Apple and Acer in that order, with a share of 21.8 percent, 20.4 percent, 15.9 percent, 7 percent and 6.8 percent respectively.

Gartner, on the other hand, states that global PC shipments totalled 62.2 million units in the same period and that this is the first time since 2007 that the PC market fell below 63 million units shipped.

This analytics firm also rearranges the most successful PC manufactures this year. Gartner pegs Lenovo, HP, Dell, Asus, Apple and Acer as the winners with a market share of 19.9 percent, 19.5 percent, 15 percent, 7.3 percent, 6.8 percent and 6.7 percent. Gartner’s analysis suggests that both Asus and Acer lost market share this year.

The difference in observations is puzzling at first, until you look at either firm’s definition of a PC. Gartner includes “desk-based PCs, notebook PCs and ultramobile premiums (including the Microsoft Surface)” in their definition of a PC. iPads and Chromebooks are excluded.

On the other hand, IDC considers notebooks, desktops and workstations to be PCs, but excludes tablets, detachable tablets and slate tablets. Basically, as The Verge suggests, IDC considers Chromebooks to be PCs, Gartner doesn’t.

So take your pick. The PC market either grew for the first time in 5 years or hit a 10-year low in shipments.

Either way, one doesn’t need to be exercise too many brain cells to figure out that the PC’s form factor, or even its operating system, isn’t so clearly defined anymore.

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