According to market research firms, the global PC market grew consistently for the first time in eight years IDC and Gartner. IDC calculates worldwide PC shipments grew by 2.7 percent to 266.7 million devices worldwide, while Gartner has linked it to 0.6 percent to 261.2 million devices. 2018 contained the first quarter of market growth in six years, but in 2019 this eventually led to a full year of growth, the first in the market since 2011.
Although Gartner and IDC generally agreed on the direction that the PC market is currently taking, the two companies count devices slightly differently. Both companies include desktops, notebooks and removable tablets such as the Surface, but Gartner excludes Chromebooks.
Both IDC and Gartner mention Windows 10 upgrades for the reversal. With Microsoft ending support for Windows 7 today, companies around the world are being forced to upgrade their older devices, which, according to Gartner, leads to a “vibrant business demand” for Windows 10. Windows 10 was installed on 900 million devices last September, according to Microsoft. Data from NetMarketShare suggests that there are still millions of PCs that still need to upgrade, with Windows 7 still being used on more than 30 percent of desktops.
IDC says it is unlikely that the benefits of upgrading to a new operating system are likely to last long, and while new technologies such as 5G and two-screen and folding screens are on the horizon, it will take time to arrive. Ultimately, Microsoft will have to stop supporting Windows 8, but the market share of the operating system is so small compared to Windows 7 that it is unlikely that it will lead to the same number of upgrades.
It wasn’t all good news for the PC market in 2019. Gartner called Intel’s CPU shortage a “big problem,” and IDC reported that the situation was helped by accepting AMD CPUs. The performance also varied between companies. The top three PC manufacturers – Lenovo, HP and Dell – all saw an increase in shipment, but in fourth and fifth place, Apple and Acer saw PC shipments fall between 2018 and 2019.