The overall PC market sales are turning weaker than expected in the traditional low season of the second quarter of 2018 despite stable gaming and business PC demand, due mainly to sluggish buying sentiment for consumer PCs and the abrupt waning in demand for crypto mining devices starting in April. This has made sequential revenue growths hard to achieve at players in the supply chains, according to industry sources.
The sources cited statistics as indicating that global PC shipments including notebooks and desktops will continue to see an annual fall of 3-5% in 2018 after having declined for six consecutive years, with global sales to hit the bottom in the second quarter of the year.
The gaming PC market is still expanding, but at a slow pace, and increasingly keen competitions are driving down selling prices, undermining the profitability of Asustek Computer and Micro-Star International and posing increasing pressure on their leaderships in the sector, the sources continued.
In contrast, PC shipment momentum can be better expected to come from the replacement demand for business-use PCs, especially as Intel and AMD have adopted new platform strategies focusing more on the business PC sector, with their new processors to be incorporated into new PC models in the third quarter.
Usually, PC brand vendors able to perform well in business-use and gaming sectors can easily enjoy increases in shipments. Dell, for instance, saw its PC shipments surge 6-7% on year in the first quarter of 2018, with both its business and gaming PC models reaching profit and volume goals set by the company. HP posted a lower annual shipment growth of 3% for the first quarter, as sales of gaming models were lower than expected.
Meanwhile, Taiwan's Acer and Asustek are losing ground in the market for business-use PCs, failing to compete well with Dell and HP in the US and Europe markets or challenge Lenovo in China. Their PC shipments for the first quarter of 2018 declined 7-13% on year, with their shipment gaps widening further with Apple, now the world's No. 4 PC brand vendor. Austek also estimated its PC shipments for the second quarter to see a 10% sequential fall.