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PC Sales See Biggest Annual Growth Since 2012

Don't say goodbye to the PC just yet. While many have been predicting its slow demise in favor of phones and tablets, analyses from both Gartner and IDC show sales grew year over year in Q2 2018. IDC is more bullish, pointing to a 2.7 percent year-over-year increase as the strongest since Q1 2012's 4.2 percent rise, while Gartner points to a smaller 1.4 percent growth spurt, saying this is the first quarter of year-over-year growth since Q1 2012. 

IDC and Gartner both wrote in releases this week that businesses picked up the slack here, which offset continuing decline in the consumer space. IDC, however, also suggests that the market for Chromebooks, premium notebooks and gaming PCs helped, especially as GPU prices have started to drop.

"PC shipment growth in the second quarter of 2018 was driven by demand in the business market, which was offset by declining shipments in the consumer segment," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "In the consumer space, the fundamental market structure, due to changes on PC user behavior, still remains and continues to impact market growth." However, the analyst warns that when companies stop replacing machines to upgrade to Windows 10, growth may stall.

The two firms had slightly different measurements. Gartner's included desktops, laptops and "ultramobile premiums" like the Microsoft Surface, but didn't count Chromebooks or iPads. IDC counts desktops, notebooks and workstations, but not detachable 2-in-1s.

The big winners here were Lenovo, HP, Dell, Apple and Acer, all of which grew in sales year over year, according to both analyst firms. Additional companies, bundled in as "others," dropped in terms of growth.

There has been some increased competition in the desktop and laptop space that could continue to spur innovation. Both Intel and AMD are offering more power with renewed competition. As the cryptomining craze dies down, gaming PCs and workstations are also becoming more affordable again. That doesn't mean this growth spurt is here to stay, but it's good news for vendors looking at increased innovation and competition to keep pushing out new computers that sell widely.

Andrew E. Freedman

Andrew E. Freedman is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming. He also keeps up with the latest news. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Kotaku, PCMag and Complex. among others. Follow him on Twitter: @FreedmanAE