Market watchers IDC and Gartner have made differing claims on the state of the PC market in Q4 last year, with IDC celebrating the first Q4 of growth in six years, and Gartner claiming the PC market continues to slump.
According to IDC, global PC shipments were up 0.7 per cent year on year to 70.6 million, with Gartner claiming shipments dropped two per cent to 71.6 million.
The slight difference in shipment figures could be explained by IDC including Chromebook shipments and Gartner excluding them - however, the analysts have differing views of the PC market's state in general.
IDC said the figures "further validate the view of a steadying, albeit still weak" PC market, but Gartner said its own figures prove that the PC market is still in transition and will weaken further as buyers switch their attention from budget computers to high-end machines.
According to IDC, market demand was driven by a desire from PC suppliers to snap up machines before components shortages drive up prices further. It also claimed that organisations were shifting their attention back to notebooks, with the tablet market in a state of flux.
Gartner however forecasts continued struggles for the market, with principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa saying: "The PC will become a more specialised, purpose-driven device.
"PC buyers will look for quality and functionality rather than looking for the lowest price, which will increase PC average selling prices and improve profitability in the long run.
"However, until this point is reached, the market will have to go through the shrinking phase caused by fewer PC users."
Both analysts agreed on the rankings of the PC market's key players, with HP Inc ranked first by shipments with a market share of around 23 per cent, slightly ahead of Lenovo.
HP also saw the greatest quarterly growth (8.3 per cent according to Gartner and 6.6 per cent according to IDC), while Asus suffered the biggest year-on-year decline at around 11 per cent.
In Europe, the UK was blamed by Gartner for contributing to a year-on-year shipment decline of 1.4 per cent, down to 21.8 million.
Gartner said that the UK market was "ailing", while shipments in Germany were also lower than expected in the quarter.
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