How Will Tech Stocks Like Microsoft and HP Respond as PC Decline Continues?

Chris Lau, Kapitall: The decline in PC sales continues, and some tech stocks may be better placed than others to come out on top.

There is more data confirming the drought in PC demand is not over. This time, preliminary figures suggest that shipments dropped another 6.9% in the fourth quarter. The decline was steep, especially for Acer and Asus, whose shipments (by percentage) dropped in the double digits.

[Read more from Kapitall: Stocks to Watch in the Gaming Market as Nintendo 3DS Sales Soar]

Microsoft ( MSFT ), Intel ( INTC ), and Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ ) are tech stocks watching the PC market’s health carefully, but HP may have the most to worry about. The hardware giant still relies on PC sales to generate revenue.

Click on the interactive chart to see data over time. Sourced from Zacks Investment Research. 

Lenovo (OTC:LVNGY) saw the greatest increase, with PC shipments rising by 6.6%. Its market share is now 18.1%, compared to 16.4% for HP. 

PC sales









Source: Gartner

HP lost market share to Lenovo for many reasons. In addition to good hardware design and quality, Lenovo embraced Windows 8 before the other PC makers. And Lenovo’s touch interface has proved popular with users.

Don’t expect PC demand to improve

The usual upgrade cycle for PCs ended when tablets and smartphones took priority for users. Even though PCs improve productivity over smaller devices, users are not necessar ily compelled to upgrade a PC if it is not broken.

Computers sold several years ago (say with 4 GB RAM and a dual core processor) are good enough to run Windows 7. A solid-state drive upgrade would be enough to improve performance in these older machines.

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