After three consecutive quarters of growth, the worldwide PC market experienced its sharpest decline since 2013 due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the January-March quarter, according to preliminary results from Gartner.
Although Lenovo maintained its top position in the worldwide PC market, its shipments declined 3.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2020 and 22.6 per cent (year over year) in Asia Pacific.
HP Inc. had a challenging first quarter, with 12.1 per cent decline in PC shipments after three consecutive quarters of shipment growth.
Dell was the only top vendor that showed shipment growth Â- rising 2.2 per cent Â- despite the impact from COVID-19. Dell's shipments grew in all regions in the first quarter of 2020, except in Asia Pacific.
"The single most significant influencing factor for PC shipment decline was the coronavirus outbreak, which resulted in disruptions to both the supply and demand of PCs," said Mikako Kitagawa, research director at Gartner.
Following the first lockdown in China in late January, there was lower PC production volume in February that turned into logistics challenges.
"Once coronavirus-related lockdowns expanded to other regions, there were new, sudden pockets of PC demand for remote workers and online classrooms that PC manufacturers could not keep up with," Kitagawa added.
Despite the impact of COVID-19, the top three vendors' market share remained unchanged from the previous quarter. They accounted for 65.6 per cent of PC shipments in the first quarter of 2020, up from just over 60 per cent in the first quarter of 2019.
Asia Pacific showed the worst decline of 27.1 per cent (year-over-year).
"This quarter's vendor results underscore the growing economic uncertainties that are tightening PC spending, especially among small and midsize businesses," said Kitagawa.
This uncertainty, coupled with the end of the Windows 10 upgrade peak, is causing enterprises to shift their IT budgets away from PCs and toward strategic business continuity planning.
"We will start seeing enterprises and consumers alike extending their PC life cycles on a more permanent basis as they focus on preserving cash," Kitagawa noted.