THE GLOBAL DECLINE in PC sales has slowed year on year as customers move to replace ageing machines running Windows XP.
The latest figures from research company Gartner show that although purchases of traditional keyboard and mouse systems continued to fall in the first quarter, the decline was a modest 1.7 percent, compared with a 13.9 percent drop recorded for the same quarter in 2013.
Most of the big players actually gained ground - Lenovo, HP, Dell and Asus all recorded year on year growth, with Lenovo still leading the field with a 16.9 percent market share and an 11 percent increase in shipments to 12.9 million units.
The decline in PC shipments came from a startling 14.9 percent drop in sales from Acer, which has seen its market share drop from 8.4 percent to 7.3 percent year on year. Gartner's "others" category also saw a decline of 9.2 percent, suggesting a homogenising of the market with several big players dominating.
The top three manufacturers - Lenovo, HP and Dell - have a market share of 45.5 percent owing in part to their business leverage in bulk sales to enterprise customers that have heeded the warnings to escape from Windows XP, while others have backed away gracefully, such as Sony after retiring its Vaio brand last year.
"All regions indicated a positive effect since the end of [Windows] XP support stimulated the PC refresh of [Windows] XP systems. Professional desktops, in particular, showed strength in the quarter," explained Gartner principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa.
Now that Windows XP has been retired, all eyes will be on the next quarter to see if this trend continues when the full effects of the end of support are felt. Earlier this week, Gartner released guidance on protecting networks and systems where Windows XP is still being used. µ