Global PC Shipments Decline as Corporate Spending Fades

Worldwide personal-computer shipments fell 5.2 percent in the first quarter as corporate spending that helped slow declines last year tailed off, market researcher Gartner Inc. reported.

About 71.7 million units were shipped in the quarter, down from 75.7 million in the same period a year earlier, Gartner said Thursday in a report. Market researcher IDC reported a wider decline, finding that 68.5 million units were shipped, a 6.7 percent drop. IDC said it was the lowest number of PC shipments since the first quarter of 2009.

The first quarter’s decline represents a return to a trend that saw PC sales hurt as consumers in emerging markets increasingly turned to smartphones and tablets to get online. That three-year downturn slowed temporarily last year as companies replaced corporate hardware that had become obsolete after Microsoft Corp. ended support of its Windows XP operating system.

“That replacement cycle faded in the first quarter of 2015,” Mikako Kitagawa, an analyst at Gartner, said in a statement.

Lenovo Group Ltd. widened its lead as the top supplier in the quarter, grabbing an 18.9 percent market share. The Chinese company shipped 13.58 million PCs worldwide, an increase of 5.7 percent from a year earlier, Gartner said. The only other gain among the top five companies was by Hewlett-Packard Co., which posted a 2.5 percent rise in shipments and boosted its share to 17.3 percent of the market.

Dell Inc.’s shipments slipped 5.1 percent in the quarter, its first fall in six quarters, leaving it with a 12.6 percent market share. Its position was hurt by the decline in corporate purchases, Gartner said.

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