The PC market is finally picking up again, and HP is the big winner

Key Points
  • HP is back on top
  • US is still a weak PC market
  • PC shipments increased 0.7 percent year over year during Q1 2017
Dion Weisler, HP CEO
Tim Dewald | CNBC

The PC market isn't bleeding out on a gurney after all.

IDC said on Tuesday that global shipments of PCs increased for the first time on an annualized basis since the first quarter of 2012. It noted the PC shipments increased 0.6 percent year over year during the first quarter of 2017.

The research firm admitted the bump is "arguably flat" but it actually came as a bit of a surprise. In fact, earlier models suggested that the PC market was going to continue its downward spiral with a decline of 1.8 percent during the quarter.

"Tight supplies of key components such as NAND and DRAM are affecting inventory dynamics and led a number of vendors to boost shipments to lock in supply ahead of further cost increases," IDC explained. "In addition, the market continued along a path of stabilization that began in the latter half of last year, especially as more commercial projects moved out of pilot mode and began shipments in earnest."

HP came out on top during the quarter, grabbing the market share crown for the first time since Q1 2013 with 13.1 million shipments. Lenovo, Dell, Apple and Acer filled out the top five vendors by shipments during the quarter, with Dell noting 6.2 percent growth and Apple seeing 4.1 percent growth during the quarter.

IDC said the notebook market declined in the United States and was weak in Asia Pacific (outside of Japan where an emerging PC refreshment cycle was noticed). The company said notebook shipments helped stabilize the PC market in EMEA.

The PC market isn't as lively as it once was, though.

"The traditional PC market has been through a tough phase, with competition from tablets and smartphones as well as lengthening lifecycles pushing PC shipments down roughly 30% from a peak in 2011," said Jay Chou, research manager, IDC PCD Tracker.