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Gartner: Windows 7 will continue to drive 2020 business PC sales

With end of support, businesses are rushing to upgrade their desktop PC estate to Windows 10, driving growth in the PC market

Gartner’s latest Worldwide PC shipments research shows that the PC market grew by 2.3% in the fourth quarter of 2019. But sales of new hardware by the top three PC manufacturers – Lenovo, HP Inc and Dell – have been curbed by the ongoing Intel processor supply issue.

The analyst firm said it expected businesses to carry on buying new PCs as they continue to replace legacy Windows 7 machines with new Windows 10 hardware.

Mikako Kitagawa, senior principal analyst at Gartner, said: “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.”

But she added: “The ongoing Intel CPU shortage, which began mid-last year, became a major issue again on PC delivery to enterprise customers by the top three vendors. Without this shortage, shipments would have grown faster than the reported results.”

Despite these chip constraints, Gartner reported that Lenovo, HP Inc and Dell increased their combined market share through 2019 to the highest level since Gartner began tracking PC data. 

Lenovo increased its market share by 6.6% and HP by 5.5%, while Dell’s PC shipments grew by 12% in the fourth quarter.

Gartner said Lenovo recorded year-on-year growth in all regions. In the US, its desktop PC shipments were up more than 30% on the figures a year ago.

HP Inc saw its third quarter in a row of year-on-year shipment growth, and retained top spot in the US, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Latin America. But it was facing aggressive competition from Lenovo and Dell, said Gartner.

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According to Gartner, Dell’s shipments grew year-on-year in all regions at a much higher rate than the regional average, largely due to its particularly strong desktop PC growth.

“The fourth quarter is typically a strong buying season for small and mid-size businesses that want to maximise their spending before the tax year ends,” said Kitagawa. “The relatively stable economic conditions in the US compared with previous quarters, coupled with the end of Windows 7 support, also loosened up spending on PCs.”

Gartner reported that PC shipments in EMEA increased by 3.6% year-on-year to 21 million units, with Q4 2019 marking the second consecutive quarter of shipment growth as regional demand improves. In Western Europe, the required Windows 10 upgrade outweighed any uncertainty surrounding Brexit. However, negative consumer confidence in the UK translated into the delay of many PC purchases, said the analyst.

Gartner forecast a decline in consumer PC shipments over the next five years, but the industry is innovating by introducing new hardware designs. Kitagawa added: “Foldable laptops, introduced at CES this past week, along with initiatives that make PCs as easy as smartphones by allowing users to always be connected and ensuring a worry-free battery life, change user behaviour and create new product segments.”

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