After seven years of market contraction, PC sales rose in 2019 compared to the previous year, both IDC and Gartner reported Monday. Sales were largely driven by demand for Windows 10 upgrades as support for Windows 7 comes to an end.
Worldwide PC shipments totaled 70.6 million units in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to Gartner, for a 2.3 percent increase from Q4 2018. For the full year, PC shipments came to 261.2 million units, showing 0.6 percent growth from 2018.
IDC said that Q4 shipments came in at 71.8 million units, representing 4.8 percent growth. For the full year, shipments came to 266.69 million units, a 2.7 percent increase over 2018.
Gartner and IDC define the PC market slightly differently: Gartner's data includes desk-based PCs, notebook PCs and ultramobile premiums (such as Microsoft Surface), but not Chromebooks or iPads. IDC counts desktops, notebooks (including Chromebooks) and workstations, but not tablets or x86 Servers.
"The PC market experienced growth for the first time since 2011, driven by vibrant business demand for Windows 10 upgrades, particularly in the U.S., EMEA and Japan," Mikako Kitagawa, senior principal analyst at Gartner, said in a statement. "We expect this growth to continue through this year even after Windows 7 support comes to an end this month, as many businesses in emerging regions such as China, Eurasia and the emerging Asia/Pacific have not yet upgraded."
As ZDNet's Ed Bott noted, there are an estimated 1.2 billion Windows PCs in use around the world, with somewhere around a billion running Windows 10. Most of the rest -- close to 200 million -- are running Windows 7.
However, according to both IDC and Gartner, sustainable market growth in the PC market will have to come from innovation.
Both research firms noted that Intel's CPU shortage continued to impact the market in Q4 2019. IDC said that the adoption of AMD CPUs provided some relief to the problem.
Lenovo, HP and Dell remained the top 3 vendors, according to both IDC and Gartner. The three vendors accounted for around 65 percent of the market in 2019, up slightly from a year prior.
Lenovo recorded year-over-year growth in most geographic regions. In the US, Lenovo's desktop PC shipments rose more than 30 percent compared with a year ago, according to Gartner.
HP, the No. 2 vendor worldwide, kept its top position in the US, EMEA and Latin America, Gartner reported.
Dell posted its own record high for Q4 shipments, both Gartner and IDC report. It growth was largely due to a robust US market, IDC says.
Apple's Mac sales in Q4 declined 5.3 percent year-over-year, according to IDC. Shipment volumes were down 2.2 percent for the full year 2019.