Businesses heading for the Windows 7 escape hatch and US retailers panic-buying ahead of the next round of trade tariffs helped PC shipments rise globally in Q3 at the fastest rate in seven-and-a-half years.

This is according to sales-in figures collated by number-cruncher Canalys: 70.9 million desktops, notebooks and workstations were estimated to have made their way into the channel, up 4.7 per cent year-on-year, the highest growth since Q1 2012.

On the global stage, the biggest spike was reported in Japan, where businesses are refreshing their PC estates before Microsoft pulls the plug on extended support for the venerable operating system, scheduled for January.

Preparations for the Tokyo Olympics 2020 and the hike in the country's consumption tax from 8 to 10 per cent – which kicked in on 1 October – also kept the sales dial swinging upwards.

Over in the US, sales were up 3 per cent on a busy back-to-school period and PC vendors loading up the channel before tariff-happy US President Trump imposes yet another trade duty on Chinese imports.

Canalys estimated this would equate to a $37bn tariff on notebooks and tablets.

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