Fewer PCs are being sold thanks to higher component prices

Blame memory and the US dollar

A strong dollar and increasing component prices have caused worldwide PC vendor unit shipment to drop by 2.4% in the first quarter of the year.

Sustained demand in the business market couldn’t outweigh an upward pricing pressure combined with lower global consumer demand.

The price of memory has increased by 100%  since last year and solid state drives are currently in short supply due partly to the increase in demand for high-end smartphones.

The increase in price is likely to continue for the whole year, which could put off consumers looking to upgrade their PCs and force businesses to delay theirs.

Lenovo is still ahead of HP and Dell on the manufacturers leaderboard with Asus, Apple and Acer filling the other places, but analyst firm Gartner, which published the report, warns of a bleak future for some.

Having a strong business computer segment - which includes laptops, convertibles and desktops - is essential for long term survival.

And while Apple is likely to escape unscathed, Asus and Acer may well find themselves squeezed out of the industry in the short term as the top three vendors continue to dominate the market.

Specialised niche players - those that sell ruggedised laptops or gaming PCs - are still likely to thrive because these usually carry far higher margins and much higher prices.