The PC market is beginning to show some signs of stablizing, with traditional PC shipments recording a slightly positive 0.7 percent year-over-year growth worldwide in Q4 2017 and total year-over-year decline of 0.2 percent in full year 2017, according to research released by IDC.
IDC said 2017 marked the most stable year for the PC market since 2011 with annual shipment volume of 259.5 million units.
In the holiday quarter, PC vendors shipped 70.6 million units, out performing estimates of a 1.7 percent decline. However despite the small quarterly growth of 0.7 percent, mobile devices are continuing to have a dampening effect on the global PC market.
"The fourth quarter results showed some potentially encouraging headway against the difficult environment in retail and consumer PCs," Jay Chou, research manager with IDC's Personal Computing Device Tracker, said in a statement. "Enticed by a growing array of products that promise all-day battery life, high portability, and address emerging use cases that require more compute power, pockets of the consumer base are taking a serious look at these revamped PCs. However, the overall PC market remains a challenging one."
In the US market, IDC reported the overall PC market performed below expectations in the Q4 2017, with a drop in notebook and desktop sales. Total PC shipments in the US reached 16.5 million units, lead by HP with a 34 percent marketshare.
In separate preliminary figures, research firm Gartner said worldwide PC shipments totaled 71.6 million units in Q4 2017, a 2 percent decline year over year. Unlike IDC, Gartner said Q4 2017 marked the thirteenth consecutive quarterly decline for the PC market.
For the year, 2017 PC shipments surpassed 262.5 million units, a 2.8 percent decline from 2016, according to Gartner's research.
Like IDC, Gartner said the US PC market lagged compared to growth in Asia/Pacific, Japan and Latin America.
"The fourth quarter results confirmed again that PCs are no longer popular holiday gift items. This does not mean that PCs will disappear from households," Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, said in a statement. "Rather, the PC will become a more specialized, 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 (ASPs) and improve profitability in the long run."
Until the increased profitability in the long run, Kitagawa said the PC market will have to go through the shrinking phase caused by fewer PC users.