The long-running decline of the desktop and notebook PC market, as consumers tend to buy and use lighter, more mobile, tablet computers and smartphones, continued in the first quarter of 2014, according to market research company Gartner Inc. of Stamford, Conn.
However, there are signs of a replacement cycle in the consumer sector prompted by the ending of support for Windows XP operating system. Worldwide PC shipments totaled 76.6 million units in the first quarter of 2014, a 1.7% decline from the first quarter of 2013, according to Gartner. However, the severity of the decline eased compared with the past seven quarters as the end of Windows XP support provided a stimulus to PC replacement.
The PC market continued to be tough, but the top three vendors -- Lenovo, Hewlett Packard, and Dell -- have all confirmed the importance of the PC business to their overall business strategies. Lenovo and Dell increased their marketshares at the top of the market at the expense of second ranked HP. Apple and Toshiba do not appear in the global top five, although they are third and fifth in the US market. Notably both suffered year-on-year shipment declines in that market.
"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, in a statement. "All regions indicated a positive effect since the end of XP support stimulated the PC refresh of XP systems."
This article originally appeared on EE Times Europe.