Gartner says processor shortages caused PC sales to slip in the fourth quarter
Desktop and notebook personal computer sales slipped 4.3 percent in the fourth quarter, due largely to a processor shortage that kept manufacturers from fulfilling business refresh and upgrade orders, analyst firm Gartner reported.
The Lowdown: Overall, PC shipments fell 1.3 percent in 2018 to 259 million units worldwide. The biggest quarterly declines were posted by Acer (18.3 percent), ASUS (10.7 percent), HP Inc. (4.4 percent), and Apple (3.8 percent). Despite the processor shortage and supply chain issues, Lenovo managed to post a quarterly shipment gain of 5.9 percent; Dell shipments also increased slightly – up 1.4 percent.
The Details: PC manufacturers continue to grapple with processor supply-chain shortages caused by the inability of companies such as Intel to meet unanticipated demand for new desktops and notebooks. The inventory shortfall may hit the bottom lines of manufacturers, as well as their distributor and reseller partners. However, Gartner believes businesses’ demand for new PCs will not subside and sales will rebound if Intel can resolve production issues.
The Impact: Despite the processor inventory problems, Gartner says the PC market performed better than expected. The end of life of Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system spurred businesses to refresh and upgrade more PCs than anticipated. The U.S. PC market saw a modest increase in sales, while Japan saw tremendous growth. Most of the sales and shipment declines were in Europe and Asia.
The Buzz: “Just when demand in the PC market started seeing positive results, a shortage of CPUs created supply-chain issues. After two quarters of growth in 2Q ’18 and 3Q ’18, PC shipments declined in the fourth quarter,” said Mikako Kitagawa, senior principal analyst at Gartner. “The impact from the CPU shortage affected vendors’ ability to fulfill demand created by business PC upgrades. We expect this demand will be pushed forward into 2019 if CPU availability improves.”