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Global PC market plunges at least 3% in first quarter

Analysts blame the decline on Windows 10 migrations and a continuing shortage of Intel chips.

HP continues to dominate the global PC market.

The global market for personal computers continued its years-long downward spiral in the first quarter, according to preliminary numbers released Wednesday by market analysts.

Worldwide shipments of PCs, including desktops, notebooks and workstations, declined 3% during the first three months of 2019, compared with the same period last year, market researcher IDC reported Wednesday. Market researcher Gartner tallied the same number of PCs shipped for the period as IDC -- 58.5 million -- but reported a more dire market decline: 4.6% for the quarter.

A continuing shortage of Intel processors, as well as pending Windows 10 migration deployments, weighed on the market, IDC said. Still, the number of PCs that shipped in the quarter topped analyst expectations.

"Desktop PCs were surprisingly resilient as the commercial segment helped drive a refresh during the quarter," Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC's Mobile Device Trackers, said in a statement.

The decline comes on the heels of a 4.3% decline in the fourth quarter of 2018, which wiped out optimism that the previous two quarters of largely flat growth signaled a possible market stabilization after six years of uninterrupted decline.

"We saw the start of a rebound in PC shipments in mid-2018, but anticipation of a disruption by CPU shortages impacted all PC markets as vendors allocated to the higher-margin business and Chromebook segment," Mikako Kitagawa, senior principal analyst at Gartner, said in a statement. Chromebook shipments increased by double digits in the first quarter compared with the same period last year, Gartner said.

HP edged out Lenovo as the quarter's top PC vendor, IDC said, capturing 23.2% of the market on 13.5 million units shipped. Lenovo was close behind with 23% market share on 13.4 million units shipped. Dell rounded out the top three with 17.7% market share on 10.3 million units.

Apple came in a distant fourth, shipping 4 million PCs to grab 6.9% of the market, IDC said.

Gartner reported largely similar vendor rankings for the quarter, with Lenovo and HP swapping positions in a still-tight race for market share (22.5% and 21.9%, respectively).