The technology refresh necessitated by the end of Microsoft's support for Windows XP seems to have arrested the decline that had plagued the PC market for the past many quarters. According to research firm Gartner, worldwide PC shipments totaled 76.6 million units in the first quarter of 2014, just 1.7 per cent decline from the first quarter of 2013.
“The end of XP support by Microsoft on April 8 has played a role in the easing decline of PC shipments,” said 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.”
However, the PC market continued to be tough for many vendors, even forcing players like Sony out of the market. In contrast, all of the top five vendors, except Acer, registered year-over-year shipment growth. Lenovo experienced the strongest growth of 10.9 per cent, while the gap between Dell and HP once again narrowed.
In Asia/Pacific, PC shipments reached 24.9 million units in the first quarter of 2014, a 10.8 percent fall compared to the corresponding period in 2013. Pressure on traditional notebooks continued as the installed base transitioned to alternative devices and replaced only on an as-needed basis.