End of Windows XP boosted 1Q14 PC sales, says Gartner

April 15, 2014 // By Peter Clarke
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. (Stamford, Connecticut).

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 1Q14, a 1.7 percent 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 market shares 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 U.S. 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." 

Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 1Q14 (Units). Source Gartner April 2014. Note: Data includes desk-based PCs and mobile PCs, including x86 tablets equipped with Windows 8, but excludes Chromebooks and other tablets.