Workstations defy the PC decline in third quarter

More than 973,000 units shipped in the quarter, approaching a record. Workstation-caliber GPUs were up 19% in the quarter.

“If you thought the workstation market was in decline like its PC sibling, think again.” So reports technology and market research firm, Jon Peddie Research (JPR), which has completed its data collection and analysis of the market’s third quarter results. Worldwide, the industry shipped approximately 973,000 workstations in the third quarter of 2013, marking 3.6% sequential growth in a quarter that is usually down sequentially. The third quarter record for workstation units shipped is 1.0 million, set in 2011.

The HP Z1 brings all-in-one styling to the workstation market. (Source: HP)
The HP Z1 brings all-in-one styling to the workstation market. (Source: HP)

2013 has proven to be a good year for the market, as it experienced its second consecutive quarter of substantial growth. JPR says third quarter results provide continuing evidence workstations are not PCs; the performances of the respective markets are on very different trend lines.

“The market for PCs is continuing to decline, feeling the heat from alternative computing devices,” explains JPR senior analyst and JPR Workstation Report author Alex Herrera. “Consumers are shifting en masse to tablets and smartphones, and either not replacing PCs as often, or deciding to go without altogether. But that trend is virtually absent in professional applications, where a tablet or smartphone can’t possibly substitute for a workstation.”

JPR remains bullish on the long-term prospects for professional computing markets, including workstations. “Professional applications are different,” states JPR president Jon Peddie. “The demand on data, computes, and visualization is insatiable. There is no such thing as performance that’s ‘good enough’, so every new generation of computing and rendering technology is readily adopted.”

Lenovo continues to rise

HP maintained its position as the dominant worldwide workstation supplier, with 41.9% market share in the quarter. Dell accounted for 32.0%, and Fujitsu chipped in 3.7%, most in EMEA and Japan.

While the market fortunes for those three vendors haven’t changed much recently, there’s a fourth player that’s been slowly and steadily making gains in the workstation market: Lenovo. The Chinese vendor accounted for 13.7% of workstation units shipped in the quarter, its highest mark since the couple of years following its inheritance of IBM’s ThinkPad mobile workstations in 2005.

Workstations are supported by the Nvidia/AMD graphics duopoly, which combined shipped a total of approximately 1.3 million workstation-caliber GPUs in the third quarter, including both mobile modules and desk side add-in cards. Volume represented a year-over-year gain of 19.7%.

More information available on the JPR website: