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The PC Is Still Dead Here

By Rick Munarriz - Updated Apr 6, 2017 at 8:35PM

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PC shipments bounced back globally after a grim first quarter, but the same can't be said for stateside shipments.

Globally speaking, the computer isn't going down without a fight.

Industry tracker IDC is reporting that worldwide PC shipments came through with a 2.6% year-over-year gain during the second quarter, reversing the shocking 3.2% slide during the first three months of the year. The previous quarter's dip was the first year-over-year decline since the end of the recession, leading some to wonder if the economy was going to fall back into a hole, or if this was simply part of the larger trend away from desktops and laptops.

The news isn't all good, though. PC shipments in this country remain in the red, as strong gains by Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Toshiba failed to offset declines from market leaders Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) and Dell (Nasdaq: DELL).

Company

U.S. Market Share

Annual Growth

HP

26.3%

(0.6%)

Dell

22.2%

(10.2%)

Apple

10.7%

14.7%

Toshiba

9.1%

3.7%

Acer

8.5%

(25.4%)

Others

23.3%

(2%)

Source: IDC.

PC shipments in the U.S. fell 4.2% during the quarter. This isn't as bad as the jaw-dropping 10.7% plunge during the first quarter, but the trend remains problematic.

Are we demanding fewer PCs because Corporate America and consumers just can't afford them, or is "good-enough computing" through ever-more-popular smartphones and tablets replacing our need for bigger gadgetry?

There may not be an overwhelming sense of panic since many of the box makers have also thrown their weight behind tablets and smartphones. Many of the companies behind the guts that make up PCs -- including NVIDIA (Nasdaq: NVDA) and Intel (Nasdaq: INTC), which took a hit three months ago during the earlier IDC report -- have been positioning themselves to matter in the smaller computing devices folks are actually buying these days.

There are some bragging rights in the carnage. By suffering just a negligible decline, HP actually gained market share. The industry may also want to paint this as a company-specific problem, since Acer's year-over-year difference of 515,000 units in the U.S. would seem to account for most of the 775,000 net decline in units. Take Dell and Acer out of the mix and PC shipments in the U.S. would have inched 1% higher!

However, we have to be realists here. Emerging countries and hotter economies abroad may not be ready to let the PC go, but a real shift is taking place in this country. Pocket-sized computing is the future, and every passing quarter will probably bear that out.   

Will PC shipments bounce back in this country? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. The Fool owns shares of and has bought calls on Intel. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple, NVIDIA, and Intel. They have also recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple and a diagonal call position in Intel, as well as writing puts in NVIDIA. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz pecked away this article on an HP computer, but he does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

HP Inc. Stock Quote
HP Inc.
HPQ
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Apple Inc. Stock Quote
Apple Inc.
AAPL
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Intel Corporation Stock Quote
Intel Corporation
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Dell Technologies Inc. Stock Quote
Dell Technologies Inc.
DELL.DL
NVIDIA Corporation Stock Quote
NVIDIA Corporation
NVDA
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