The last time we talked about growth in the PC market, Apple lost co-founder Steve Jobs, the iPad was still in its infancy, and Microsoft hadn’t announced the first Surface yet. It’s been a long seven years of decline for the PC market, but 2019 finally saw the space climb out of the drought.
According to data from research firms Gartner and IDC, the PC market in 2019 saw its first full year of growth since 2011. Gartner estimated shipments grew 0.6 percent in 2019 to 261.2 million devices. The firm also estimated a 2.3-percent shipment growth in the fourth quarter of 2019 relative to the fourth quarter of 2018. IDC’s numbers were a bit more optimistic, with an estimated 2.7-percent growth to 266.7 million devices and a 4.8-percent growth from Q4 2018 to Q4 2019.
For their estimations, Gartner and IDC included desktops, laptops, and detachable tablets like the Surface Pro. However, Gartner excluded Chromebooks from its numbers.
The two firms attributed the PC market’s growth to businesses upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 10. Microsoft officially ended support for Windows 7 today, forcing businesses to upgrade legacy devices they might still be using. Even so, an estimated 32.7 percent of computers still run the older operating system.
However, it wasn’t all rosy in the PC market. Lenovo, HP, and Dell claimed the top three spots and reportedly saw shipment growth in the fourth quarter of 2019. However, Apple, ASUS, and Acer all saw declines throughout 2019, and Microsoft’s U.S. shipments dropped during the fourth quarter.
Another observation is Intel and its CPU shortage. According to Gartner, the PC market’s numbers for 2019 could have been higher if it weren’t for Intel’s supply chain struggles. IDC echoed Gartner’s comments and also said Intel’s struggles will negatively impact premium devices. Because PC manufacturers adopted AMD processors for some of their computers, concerns about processor availability weren’t as bad as they could have been.