PCs prove resilient (again) as even CPU shortages aren't stunting growth

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The pundits who once predicted tablets would be the end of traditional PCs had it all wrong. Fortunately, market research firms stopped spouting that nonsense a long time ago. They have not stopped tracking PC shipments, though, and the latest numbers underscore the resiliency of the PC.

According to Gartner, worldwide PC shipments tallied 68 million units in the third quarter of 2019, resulting in a modest 1.1 percent bump over the same quarter a year ago. IDC reports figures that are a bit higher—70.4 million shipments, up to 3 percent year-over-year.

Either way, it's impressive that PC shipments are trending upwards when there are multiple factors that could have pushed things in the opposite direction, primarily CPU shortages and tariffs.

"Neither the Intel CPU shortage nor the US-China trade war had a significant impact on PC shipments in the third quarter of 2019. The Intel CPU shortage has continued to ease, and US tariffs on China-built mobile PCs had a minimal impact on PC shipments as the date for the potential increase in tariffs was pushed out to December 2019," said Mikako Kitagawa, senior principal research analyst at Gartner.

In past years, an Intel CPU shortage may have had a bigger impact on shipments. In the current landscape, however, it provided opportunities for AMD and Qualcomm to position products where Intel has traditionally been dominant. For Qualcomm, that entailed teaming up with Microsoft for its "always connected PC" push, and of course AMD has been making waves across the board with its Ryzen and Epyc processors.

Gartner also credited the Windows 10 refresh cycle as playing a role, citing as the "primary driver for growth across all regions."

Long live the PC.

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).