DESPITE technology’s huge strides in recent years, the old PC is still reliable and sales are booming now more than ever.

Of course, today’s personal computers are adorned with more bells and whistles than the gigantic contraptions we had around 20 years ago. A lot of work now gets done with smartphones, but for many companies, a PC is still necessary to be productive.

Manufacturers note that the PC market is stabilizing, with an ever so slight increase of 1.4 percent compared to last year. Mikako Kitagawa, Gartner’s principal analyst, credits the increased corporate demand for personal computers to the hardware upgrades required by Windows 10.

In terms of market share, Lenovo is leading the way at 23.6 percent, a 10.7-percent growth compared to last year. HP follows at a close second with a 21.8 percent market share, indicating a 6.2-percent growth compared to last year as well. Dell is also doing well and has managed to capture 10 percent of the market, which is a 5.3 percent increase from the previous year. These figures are for worldwide market sales, as of the third quarter of 2018.

However, Apple, Acer, Asus and other smaller competitors are struggling this quarter, as their sales have declined since 2017.

Unfortunately, trends such as these are expected in a market where growth is flat or stable-–the large firms gain a stronger hold while the smaller challengers start to lose what hold they once had. In a free market where competition is abundant and growth flat, people may tend to go for more proven and dominant brands.

One of the things I did not expect is the decline of Apple notebooks and computers. Apple iPhones continue to be strong and it was expected that some of this would rub off on their Mac line.

Sales of the Apple Mac line declined by over eight percent, resulting in a decline in market share, from eight percent in the third quarter of 2017 to only 7.3 percent in this recent quarter.

Thus, while the market share of the top three brands in computers gained almost 10 percent, the sales growth of the other brands and the rest of the computer brands declined also by almost 10 percent.

The worst decline was by Asus, whose sales dropped by almost 16 percent. For these brands that are neither too big to be known or too small to be affordable, being squeezed can normally be a challenge.

The same can be said about retailers or malls. It’s not the biggest or the smallest that might be affected, but those that are neither too big nor too small.