PC makers shipped almost 81 million computers last quarter, which is down 2.4% from last year.
But that’s actually good news for the PC market.
The company tracking these stats, IDC, expected a decline of 4.8% during the quarter, according to Bloomberg. So sales were actually better than expected.
For all of last year, total PC sales came in around 308 million, a decline of 2.1%.
That’s a lot better than 2013, when sales were down 10% from the previous year, a record since the time IDC began tracking the market.
The big winner during the quarter was Apple, which saw shipments go up 19% from last year. Apple also saw the highest annual growth among the top 5 PC makers, with 16% growth in shipments.
Lenovo is still the top PC maker in the world, and shipped more than 59 million PCs last year. But HP finished the year strong with a 15% increase in shipments during the fourth quarter, and came in second for the year with more than 56 million PCs shipped.
The good news for PC makers comes as HP prepares to split PCs and printers into a separate business from its other products, such as servers and enterprise software. Microsoft is also gearing up for its next major Windows release, Windows 10, later this year.
The improvement comes partly as businesses replaced old computers running Windows XP, an old operating system that Microsoft stopped supporting in 2014. A rise in cheap computers running Chromebooks and bundles of Windows with Microsoft’s Bing search engine also helped shipments, although those boosts might fade in 2015, IDC says.
Still, it looks like the PC market is finally stabilizing — especially as tablet sales aren’t rising nearly as fast as they used to.