Shipments of personal computers (PCs) in Australia took a hit in the fourth quarter of 2018 following a period of growth, with further declines expected this year.
According to research firm IDC, year-on-year shipments of PCs fell by 2.5 per cent in Q4 ending Australia’s recent run of bucking the global PC downturn trend.
The research firm predicts a further year-on-year decline of three per cent for the market in 2019 as Australian consumers contend with a tighter financial market.
Overall for the 2018 calendar year, the commercial device market grew by nearly 10 per cent while consumer devices shrank by three per cent.
Shipments hit a period of highs during Q3 and Q4, which saw 8.9 per cent and 9.6 per cent year-on-year growth respectively.
The fourth quarter also saw market leader HP lose ground to Dell and Apple, as sales plummeted from 344.7 million units to 310 million. The latter two vendors meanwhile both saw unit shipments increase to 208 million, almost double year-on-year for Apple.
Annual growth was driven by small and medium business tax rebates, the looming Windows 7 end of support deadline and the growing adoption of the PC-as-a-service model, according to IDC market analyst Sean Ashari.
“Organisations were hungry for devices,” he said. “However in Q4 a combination of the Intel CPU shortage and uncertainty in business conditions (resulting from the US-China trade war, domestic spending decline) curtailed growth at the end of the year and broke a yearlong commercial growth trend.”
Meanwhile, competition from mobile devices remains one of the biggest factors in the flatlining consumer sector, plus the slow pace of improvement to mainstream PC devices, Ashari said.
Also contributing to the decline was the “disappointing” refreshing of hardware gaming graphics, he added.
Looking ahead, Ashari warned of a further PC shipment declines as Australians experience falling house prices, shrinking household savings and uncertainty around interest rates.
“In 2019, government and exporting businesses are expected to increase spending on PC devices, while locally trading businesses face a slow decline in business confidence,” he said.
Despite a negative quarter for PC units, Australia’s monitor market experienced an 8.3 per cent growth spurt in Q4, following two successive quarters of 9.6 per cent.
However, the upwards trend is expected to reverse this year, with IDC predicting monitor shipments to decline by 1.7 per cent.