Reports of the PC’s demise have been greatly exaggerated, according to research showing sales have risen for the first time in five years.

Technology researcher IDC said PC shipments had increased by 0.6pc in the first quarter of 2017, the first quarter they had risen year-on-year since the same period in 2012.

Although the increase is marginal, it suggests that the long and painful decline in PC sales of the last half-decade as tailed off, at least momentarily.

However, competing data from Gartner said PC sales has fallen by 2.4pc in the quarter. Gartner said that sales were now at their lowest level since early 2007.

IDC’s Jay Chou said that as sales of smartphones and tablets have risen, consumers had not stopped using PCs, but merely replaced them less often. He said the market is now entering a “replacement cycle” which should lead it to growth.

“The traditional PC market has been through a tough phase, with competition from tablets and smartphones as well as lengthening lifecycles pushing PC shipments down roughly 30pc from a peak in 2011,” Mr Chou said.

“Nevertheless, users have generally delayed PC replacements rather than giving up PCs for other devices. The commercial market is beginning a replacement cycle that should drive growth.”

Declines in PC sales have meant a reckoning for manufacturers such as Hewlett Packard and Dell. HP split itself into two in 2015 to protect its servers and software business from its declining PC arm, while Dell took itself private in 2013 in order to turn the business around out of the public eye.

IDC’s figures showed HP leapfrogging China’s Lenovo as the world’s biggest PC seller, followed by Dell, Apple and Acer.

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