Component shortages will continue to hurt PC sales at the industry's major suppliers for at least another year, according to Gartner.
The market watcher said a scarcity of DRAM components, which has put a hole in the PC profits of major vendors including Dell EMC, became even more severe in the third quarter of 2017 when compared with the first half of the year.
"The component price hike affected the consumer PC market as most vendors generally pass the price hike on to consumers, rather than absorbing the cost themselves," said Mika Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner.
"We expect the DRAM shortage to continue to the end of 2018, but it will not be reflected in the final PC prices immediately."
Worldwide PC shipments reached 67 million units in the third quarter of 2017, 2.6 per cent down on the corresponding quarter last year, marking the twelfth consecutive quarter of declining PC shipments, claims Gartner.
Windows 10 upgrades continued to feed PC demand among business, Gartner said, but refresh cycles have varied from region to region.
"Business PC demand, led by Windows 10 upgrades, continued to drive PC shipments across all regions, but its refresh schedule varies by region. The countries with stable economies, such as the US, have created a positive sentiment among businesses, especially for SMBs, which are more vulnerable to external events such as economic or political [ones]," said Kitagawa.
Gartner claims, however, that the PC market saw "stabilisation" in EMEA, Japan and Latin America, but the US market experienced a 10 per cent year-on-year decline after a "very weak" back-to-school sales season.
HP Inc and Lenovo drew level in terms of market share and shipments for the quarter. Gartner claims that HP Inc has experienced five consecutive quarters of PC growth, while Lenovo is stuck in a "downward trend" of falling shipments for eight of the past 10 quarters.
"Lenovo continues to face the dilemma of market share gains versus profitability. It appears the company is putting more emphasis on profitability than share gain," said Gartner.
Both IDC and Gartner have claimed that the EMEA PC market has seen signs of recovery after logging its fifth consecutive year of decline at the end of 2016.
IDC said that EMEA PC shipments only fell by 0.6 per cent annually in Q2 of this year, kept afloat by a 3.1 per cent year-on-year increase in notebook shipments.
Gartner has meanwhile predicted that the PC market will bounce back in 2018, and will grow by 1.8 per cent compared with 2017 as end users come to the end of Windows 10 evaluation periods.
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