Ending a seven-year slump, Dell shipped more PCs in the first quarter of this year than any other computer maker.
According to technology industry research firm Gartner Inc. Dell shipped 3.5 million desktops and laptops in the first quarter of 2016 in the U.S., which is a 3.1 percent increase over the previous quarter. Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa said Dell benefited from emphasizing the business market over the consumer market.
Round Rock-based Dell topped longtime rival HP Inc., which shipped 3.1 million PCs in the first quarter, which was a 17 percent decline for them. The last time Dell beat HP in a single quarter was 2009, Kitagawa said.
This gives Dell about 26 percent of the market share for PCs, versus 23 percent for HP, according to Gartner.
"HP is now trying to stay away from the very low-priced PCs," Kitagawa said, because they tend to be less profitable. but this strategy means losing market share.
Dell has been more aggressive as a private company, said Patrick Moorhead, an industry analyst and the President of Moor Insights and Strategy, noting that it came at the same time as HP being focused on profitable growth.
Kitagawa warned against reading too much into the first-quarter numbers. "At the end of the year it might be different," she said. "We're just looking at one quarter's results, sometimes it doesn't tell the whole story. "
Gartner's report came out the same day that rival tech industry research firm IDC put out a report on PC shipments that reached similar conclusions. According to IDC, Dell narrowly overtook HP in U.S. shipments. They report that Dell shipped 3.5 million PCs, which represents a 4.2 percent increase, versus HP shipping 3.4 million.
While declining to discuss their PC shipments in the first quarter, Dell did note to the American-Statesman that it was one of the first computer makers to sell Windows 10 products in 2015.
The first quarter is typically the slowest for PC sales. Large public sector purchases tend to happen in the second and third quarter, Kitagawa said, and consumer sales pick up in the fourth quarter due to holiday shopping.
Overall, the PC market was down 6.6 percent in the United States during the first quarter, reflecting a preference for other Internet-connected devices, such as tablets or smartphones. Moorhead said he believes sales will hit a trough in the third quarter of this year and that PC sales may increase from there, in part due to rollouts tied to Windows 10.
Worldwide, PC shipments declined 9.6 percent. Dell's shipments fell less than 1 percent to 9.1 million. Globally, Dell was third in PC shipments behind Lenovo and HP.
Dell Inc. is the largest private employer in the Central Texas region with about 13,000 local employees.
This story has been updated to include information from Patrick Moorhead and Dell Inc.