Lenovo employees are gathering in Raleigh this week for the spring kickoff by the world’s No. 1 PC seller. But there’s not much joy for Lenovo or its competitors based on the latest PC sales statistics. Global shipments crashed in the first quarter. About the only bright spots for Lenovo were: Increase sales in the U.S. and a bigger global market share year-over-year.

According to research firm Gartner, the world’s shift away from PCs to other devices such as tablets and smartphones accelerated over the past three months. PC sales tumbled 9.6 percent to 64.8 million units – the first time since 2007 that sales fell below 65 million. Factors beyond tech trends included a strong U.S. dollar.

IDC, meanwhile, reported that sales were even worse: Down 11 percent.

Lenovo, which operates its executive headquarters in Morrisville, can take some solace in its improving market share at the expense of others in a now-shrinking market place. Total PC shipments have declined for six consecutive quarters. But in the U.S., Lenovo continues to muscle up.

“In the last four quarters, Lenovo has showed double-digit shipment growth in the U.S., while the overall market has declined,” Gartner notes.

In the U.S., however, Lenovo drove up sales an impressive 14.6 percent to 1.9 million from last year. That’s good for a 14.5 percent market share, up year-over-year from 11.8 percent and the No. 3 spot behind Dell (3.5 million sales) and HP (3.1 million.) Dell, in fact, drove up shipments 3.1 percent to replace HP in the top spot.

Apple sales declined slightly to 1.7 million and remains No. 4 just behind Lenovo.

But, again, the market pie is shrinking. U.S. shipments were down 6.6 percent.

Market malaise?

“Vendors that had a strong consumer focus struggled to increase sell in shipments,” Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa said. “There was no particular motivation for U.S. consumers to purchase PCs in the first quarter of 2016. There have been increased sales of two-in-one PCs, but not enough to offset the decline in desktop and traditional notebook sales.”

The global view

Worldwide, the news is just not good.

“All major regions showed year-on-year shipment declines, with Latin America showing the steepest drop, where PC shipments declined 32.4 percent. The Latin America PC market was intensely impacted by Brazil where the problematic economy and political instability adversely affect the market,” said Gartner’s Kitagawa.

“The ongoing decline in U.S. PC shipments showed that the installed base is still shrinking, a factor that played across developed economies. Low oil prices drove economic contraction in Latin America and Russia, changing them from drivers of growth to market laggards.”

Lenovo took a hit along with HP and Dell – its two closest rivals – as well as “others,” those being manufacturers that collectively make up the largest market share. Only Apple and Asus managed gains.

Lenovo’s bad-news bottom line:

Shipments down to 12.5 million from 13.5 million, a year-over-year decline of 7.2 percent

The good news: Market share climbed half a point to 19.3 percent.

But the news was much worse for the newly split HP, which saw shipments plunge 9 percent to 11.4 million. Its market share did improve slightly.

No. 3 Dell’s sales slipped slightly to 9.1 million from 9.2 million.

The biggest losers were the smaller manufacturers who lost 18.4 percent of sales, down nearly 5 million to 21.8 million. Market share dropped to 33.6 percent from 37.2 percent.

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The Gartner report is at: