Here’s an interesting and bright bit of recent news about PC sales. Analyst firm Canalys reports a jump in global PC sales growth for Q3 2019. In fact, their numbers show an increase of 4.7% for that quarter, a rate not seen since Q1 2012 when growth hit 5.4%. For the record, that translates to sales of 70.9 million units. This comes in sharp contrast to the intervening 6-plus years during which PC sales have mostly declined — albeit slowly — or stayed flat. Interestingly Canalys attributes this spike to “multiple factors” that include “upgrades to Windows 10,” “seasonal inventory stocking for the holidays,” and an upswing in “macroeconomic conditions.”
Tariffs and Upgrades Lead the Way to Growth
With additional tariffs on Chinese goods scheduled to take effect in December, Canalys believes that “leading PC vendors are pumping up production orders, and channel partners … building inventory ahead of the 15 December deadline.” (Of course, it’s possible that Trump’s recent sit-down with Chinese negotiators might still void the scheduled price add-ons: see this Bloomberg story for further details). Another profound contributing factor to the jump, however, has to be hardware refresh buys that include Windows 10 pre-installed in anticipation of the upcoming January 20 End-of-Life date for Windows 7. Combined, this has apparently produced a nice bump in PC sales (and the still-dominant Windows OS that mostly comes with them). Here’s a snapshot of who’s leading the PC market sales-wise:
Nice to see Windows 10 helping to float PC sales higher. Lenovo and HP lead the way, trailed by Dell, Apple and Acer to round out the Top 5.
[Click image for full-sized view; Source: Canalys Press Release.]
Lenovo ekes out the number one sales position, with Q3 2019 numbers slightly ahead of HP at around 17.5 million units. HP grew by 8.5% for that quarter, though, so it beat Lenovo’s still-solid 7.2% figure. In fact, they and Dell (5.2%) were the only companies to beat the average of 4.7% growth for the quarter. That says the “Big 3” are dominating sales and growth in the PC marketplace right now. That said, I’m guessing that Microsoft Surface growth figures also beat the benchmark, because they’ve been quite strong over the past two years.
Different Sources, Different Numbers
Interestingly, an October 10 story from VentureBeat also shows Q3 growth in PC sales, citing research results from Gartner and IDC. But they place growth in the 1-3% range, rather than the more bullish number of 4.7% that Canalys claims from its results. Both firms, however, also point to “the Windows 10 refresh cycle in the business market as contributing to the past quarter’s gain.” Looks like how you slice and dice the data might move the benchmark up or down a bit, but that no matter whose numbers you rely on, Windows 10 gets some of the credit for the first increase in global PC sales in six years. Indeed, it’s nice to see Windows 10 as a source for good news.
Author: Ed Tittel
Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.