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Dell Overtakes HP In U.S. PC Shipments In Q1

Despite surging demand for work-from-home devices, HP saw shipments drop amid supply constraints, according to Gartner.

Dell surpassed previous frontrunner HP Inc. in terms of U.S. PC shipments during the first quarter, as the COVID-19 coronavirus disrupted production in China while also increasing demand for work-from-home devices, research firm Gartner reported.

Typically dominant in terms of U.S. PC shipments in Gartner’s quarterly reports, HP saw its shipments in the category fall 13.9 percent during the first quarter compared to the same period a year earlier, Gartner said. Dell, on the other hand, saw its U.S. PC shipments jump 10 percent on a year-over-year basis, the research firm said.

[Related: Coronavirus Driving ‘Massive’ Surge In Tech Purchases: The Channel Company Research]

Dell ended up with a sizable market-share lead during Q1 with 31.4 percent of U.S. PC shipments overall, well ahead of HP's 24.8-percent share of the market, according to Gartner.

"It certainly appears to us that HP is having some difficulty with regard to the current constraints. We are still seeing extended ETAs and lack of stock at distribution," said an executive at a solution provider, who asked to not be identified. "With Dell, we have been able to secure orders with extended, but not far-reaching ETAs--perhaps because their config to order process has always been set up in that just-in-time model."

Ultimately though, "the COVID-19 related constraints we are seeing is only the tip of the iceberg, as we are still in the midst of the Intel chipset shortage," the executive said.

Lenovo--which saw even stronger growth of 28.8 percent on U.S. PC shipments during the first quarter--finished at No. 3 with a 17.5-percent share of the market, Gartner reported.

Top executives from HP Inc., Dell Technologies and Lenovo have all confirmed the spike in demand for work-from-home PCs in interviews with CRN.

HP CEO Enrique Lores told CRN that the pandemic has sparked “strong demand” for PCs. HP has been supply constrained, Lores acknowledged--but he said he expects HP to be at “full capacity” in the second quarter as long as there is not a rise in coronavirus cases in China.

Dell CEO Michael Dell told CRN that “demand for work-from-home solutions is very strong” in the wake of the pandemic. “Our supply chain is in relatively good shape, particularly in notebooks, where we think that’s certainly a place where we’re seeing demand shortages because of the work-from-home strategy,” Dell said.

Matthew Zielinski, president of Lenovo’s North America Intelligent Devices Group, told CRN that Lenovo has also seen a “surge of demand” for PCs in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Supply has been constrained, but "I'm happy to say that we've seen significant improvements in our factory outputs," Zielinski said.

Marc Harrison, president of Manalapan, N.J.-based solution provider Silicon East, said his company has been unable to find laptops immediately available from any of the three major PC vendors. "We looked, and there was nothing there," he said.

"It was a double whammy--they had the manufacturing constraints in China, and then beyond that, when everyone decided to work remote, the demand went through the roof," Harrison said.

The solution provider has been able to get Lenovo desktops for customers, however, he said. "For the Lenovo Tinys and Nanos, we've been able to get pretty much all we need," Harrison said.

Gartner notes that its PC shipments figures do not include Chromebooks. The shift to distance learning in countless communities amid the COVID-19 pandemic has led to massive demand for student-friendly Chromebook laptops, vendors and solution providers have reported--and the U.S. PC market-share breakdown could look different if Chromebooks were factored in.

Overall in the U.S., PC shipments were up slightly during the first quarter, rising 0.8 percent, Gartner said.

Here are Gartner's U.S. PC shipments and market-share figures for the first quarter of 2020:

- Dell: Shipments up 10 percent; market share of 31.4 percent (28.8 percent a year ago)

- HP Inc.: Shipments down 13.9 percent; market share of 24.8 percent (29.1 percent a year ago)

- Lenovo: Shipments up 28.8 percent; market share of 17.5 percent (13.7 percent a year ago)

- Apple: Shipments up 1.1 percent; market share of 12.3 percent (12.2 percent a year ago)

- Microsoft: Shipments up 0.1 percent; market share of 4.7 percent (4.8 percent a year ago)

- Acer: Shipmentes up 12.3 percent; market share of 3.1 percent (2.8 percent a year ago)

Globally, Gartner says that PC shipments fell 12.3 percent during the first quarter, while research firm IDC found a less steep decline at 9.8 percent. IDC does factor Chromebooks into its figures.

Both research firms agreed on the general picture involving the top three PC makers. At No. 1, Lenovo's global PC shipments fell 4.3 percent (according to IDC) or 3.2 percent (according to Gartner). At No. 2, HP saw a bigger drop at 13.8 percent or 12.1 percent, respectively. And No. 3 player Dell gained some ground with global PC shipment growth of 1.1 percent (according to IDC) or 2.2 percent (according to Gartner).

In response to a question seeking comment on the figures, HP provided a statement from Alex Cho, president of the personal systems business at HP. "We remain focused on delivering great innovation that meets the needs of our customers and partners," Cho said in the statement. “HP technology is helping people adapt to new ways of living and working. Innovations like our latest ENVY 32 All-in-One, Spectre x360 15, and new advanced security solutions are examples of how we’re enabling people to stay connected, productive, learning, and secure."

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