Workstations Recover in Q2

Expectations were mixed for the Q2’15 workstation market, following a ‘surprisingly painful’ first quarter, said Jon Peddie Research (JPR). Stakeholders were seeking reassurance that the market was not following the downward trend of the wider PC industry – and received it, says JPR, with a significant shipment volume rebound. Around 1.02 million workstations were shipped in Q2: an 11.5% QoQ gain, bringing the industry back to Q4’14 levels.

Workstations, although superficially similar, do not follow the same trends as PCs. Report author Alex Herrera said, “First, as a tool for professionals, the workstation won’t be replaced by an alternative device like a phone or tablet, as has been the case in the consumer space. And second, serving demanding customers in need of any and all increases in performance they can get, workstations shouldn’t see replacement cycles dragging out further, at least not nearly to the extent they are in mainstream PC markets”.

Q2 saw a solid rebound in both shipments and revenues from Q1, and the workstation market is now set for a healthy second half of the year. Both OEMs and independent hardware vendors (IHVs) are preparing major new product launches to support Intel’s new Skylake chipset.

Market shares at the top changed little from Q1 to Q2, with HP, Dell and Lenovo still dominating. However, there are some noticeable trends that have stood out from recent years. First, Lenovo has experienced the most growth, mostly due to sales momentum in China; and second, Dell has been able to stabilise its share and regain lost ground.

Both of these trends continued in Q2. Lenovo posted its highest-ever share (13.2%), and Dell posted a small rose to 34.9%: its highest share since 2010. Both gains came at the expense of market leader HP, whose share fell to 38.4%: its lowest level in five years. Fujitsu and ‘Others’ completed the market with shares of 2.9% and 9.9%, respectively.

The support IHV duopoly of Nvidia and AMD shipped around 1.15 million professional GPUs into the workstation market. Nvidia was responsible for 80.4% of these.

Analyst Comment

We heard that Lenovo would have more of a presence at IBC this year to promote its workstation products, including monitors, and we plan to meet up with them there to get an update.