Despite first Q2 growth since 2012, outside of gaming, global PC sales aren’t looking good

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PC shipments have increase in Q2 for the first time since 2012, after many years of lacklustre sales. The market has been facing increasing pressure from devices such as mobile phones and tablets for the last half-decade, but has managed to claw back a marginal gain of 1.4% thanks to an increase in business demand. But PC sales aren’t out of the woods yet.

Some of the largest PC builders in the world, such as Lenovo, HP, Dell, Apple, and Acer, are all expected to experience growth in the second quarter of 2018, but the remaining smaller manufacturer’s combined are still looking at shrinkring shipments compared to the previous year’s second quarter.

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The research from Gartner indicates that three out of four PC sales in Q2 2018 were sold by the top five OEM giants. But, despite these companies success, this surprising growth due to corporate investment still likely isn’t enough to keep PC shipments above sea level under a wave of portable devices.

“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,” Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner (via Guru3D), says. “In the consumer space, the fundamental market structure, due to changes on PC user behavior, still remains, and continues to impact market growth. Consumers are using their smartphones for even more daily tasks, such as checking social media, calendaring, banking and shopping, which is reducing the need for a consumer PC.”

Graphics cards

Devices as a whole are still expected to increase roughly 0.9% in 2018 overall, however, that’s almost entirely driven by growth in the mobile market of roughly 1.4%. Another report from Gartner, via DigiTimes, puts the weak growth in PC shipments down to the massive demand of DRAM that isn’t being met by supply, and in turn, has drastically increased in price.

It’s not been a great month for other PC components either. I’m sure most readers don’t need reminding of when graphics cards were sparse in numbers and incredibly pricey due to an increase in mining demand alongside already weakened shipments due to memory constraints.

But those dark days are behind us, and gaming PCs have seen good growth and gaining momentum even with this overarching sales slump in place. There are just some tasks you can’t beat a PC for. At least the arrival of Nvidia’s GTX 1180 will boost PC shipment numbers when it (hopefully) arrives later this year.