Smartphone shipments may have skyrocketed in the past decade, but apparently there’s still a place for personal computers. Research firms Gartner and IDC have both released reports suggesting that PC shipments were up in 2019, making it the first year since 2011 that PC shipments were up year-over-year.
The increase was a modest one… and it’s unclear if it’ll be sustainable. But it looks like we’re not living in entirely post-PC world just yet.
According to IDC’s figures, PC shipments rose by 2.7 percent in 2019. Gartner measured just a 0.6 percent increase. The discrepancy is due to what each firm considers a PC (IDC says Chomebooks are PCs, but tablets are not, while Gartner includes tablets like the Microsoft Surface, but not Chromebooks. I have no idea how the companies will categorize upcoming foldables like the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold).
But both agree that this is the first time in seven years when there was any kind of uptick.
One major contributing factor? The impending end-of-support for Windows 7, which prompted many businesses to replace their aging PCs last year. That trend will likely continue for the next few quarters, but it’s unclear what will happen when the share of computers running Windows 7 diminishes.
But with somewhere between 261 million and 267 million PCs shipped over the course of the year, it seems clear that there’s still demand for traditional computers… just not as much demand as there is for smartphones. According to IDC, 358 million smartphones were shipped in just Q3, 2019. That’s more smartphones shipped in three months than PCs shipped over the course of an entire year.
So… maybe in that sense we are already living in a post-PC world.
A few other fun facts from the PC shipment reports:
- Lenovo, HP, and Dell continue to lead the pack.
- Apple saw a small decline in PC shipments. But the company’s iPad and iPhone sales are still big business, so I wouldn’t worry too much about Apple’s long term prospects.
- Acer and Asus are the only other companies that even showed up on the charts — and both saw declining shipments.