PC market shows first growth in 5 years, IDC reports

According to the latest report from analysts at IDC, the PC market saw an uptick in the first quarter of 2017, showing its first signs of growth in five years. At a total of 60.3 million units shipped, year-over-year growth measured in at a minor 0.6 percent (via Axios). Though that is a relatively minor jump, it stands in contrast to the 1.8 percent decline that IDC had been forecasting for the quarter.

IDC - April 2017 Report

All five of the top vendors — ranked by shipments — saw some measure of growth for the quarter, with HP taking the top spot with 13.1 percent. Lenovo moved to second place 1.7 percent growth, while Dell settled in the third spot with 6.2 percent growth. Apple and Acer round out the fourth and fifth spots with growth of 4.1 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively.

Interestingly, while the top five were up, the last group, simply referred to as "others," saw a somewhat hefty decline of 11.4 percent.

While a positive sign for the PC market in the short term, IDC pegs the minor growth on a replacement cycle that is just kicking into gear:

"The traditional PC market has been through a tough phase, with competition from tablets and smartphones as well as lengthening lifecycles pushing PC shipments down roughly 30% from a peak in 2011," said Jay Chou, research manager, IDC PCD Tracker. "Nevertheless, users have generally delayed PC replacements rather than giving up PCs for other devices. The commercial market is beginning a replacement cycle that should drive growth throughout the forecast. Consumer demand will remain under pressure, although growth in segments like PC Gaming as well as rising saturation of tablets and smartphones will move the consumer market toward stabilization as well."

Keep in mind that IDC's data only counts what it classifies as "traditional PCs." That includes desktops, notebooks and workstations — but, crucially, not tablets.

Update: Gartner is out with its report today as well, and it paints things in a slightly different light. Overall, its data shows a year-over-year decline of 2.4 percent to 62.2 million units. Per its analysis, the business sector saw modest growth that was "offset by declining consumer demand." Like IDC, Gartner sees PC gaming as a growing niche market going forward.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl