Market analysts IDC and Gartner have disagreed on whether PC shipments grew or contracted in the fourth quarter of 2017.
IDC said 70.6 million units were shipped worldwide in the period, which would mark a 0.7 percent increase from the same quarter last year, outperforming the forecast of a 1.7 percent decline.
However, Gartner said worldwide PC shipments were down 2 percent year-over-year in the same quarter, despite recording a larger total of 71.6 million units shipped.
Both analysts reported that 2017 full-year shipments fell from 2016, with IDC reporting a 0.2 percent decline to 259.5 million units and Gartner reporting a 2.8 percent decline to 262.5 million units.
“The 4Q17 results further validate the view of a steadying, albeit still weak, traditional PC market, buoyed mainly by commercial upgrades and pockets of improving consumer PC demand,” the IDC report said.
“This makes 2017 the most stable year the market has seen since 2011.”
IDC added that a shortage of key components such as SSDs acted as “a major driver” of shipments for much of 2017, with top PC companies vying to lock up supply ahead of price increases, which led to a boost in orders.
Meanwhile, Gartner said the results confirmed that PCs are no longer popular holiday gifts, although it believes that PCs won’t disappear from households anytime soon.
“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,” Gartner principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa said.
“However, until this point is reached, the market will have to go through the shrinking phase caused by fewer PC users.”
Both IDC and Gartner agreed that shipments in the Asia-Pacific region were up, citing demand for gaming PCs and strong sales brought by promotions during the fourth quarter, particularly in China.
IDC added that Japan saw year-over-year growth of 3.8 percent, exceeding its forecast of a 2.9 percent decline, citing a rise in demand from Windows 10 migration and the end of support for Windows 7 in 2020.