Global personal computer shipments reached 76.6 million units in the first quarter of 2014, a 1.7 percent decline from the same time one year ago, according to preliminary data from Gartner.

Though PC shipments have been falling each quarter for the past seven quarters as compared to the same quarters one year before, this quarter’s shipments ease that rate of decline.

PC sales may have been helped by the expiration of XP, a Windows operating system Microsoft discontinued support for beginning in April, prompting users to begin buying new computing systems.

“All regions indicated a positive effect since the end of XP support stimulated the PC refresh of XP systems. Professional desktops, in particular, showed strength in the quarter,” Gartner principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa said in a statement. Japan, for instance, saw a 35 percent year-over-year increase in PC shipments, coinciding with the end of XP support, according to Gartner.

“The U.S. saw the gradual recovery of PC spending as the impact of tablets faded” Kitagawa said. In some markets, new consumers sometimes opt for tablets instead of desktop computers, according to a January Gartner report.

Top global vendors this quarter were Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard and Dell with 16.9, 16 and 12.5 percent of market share respectively.

About 14 million PC units shipped in the United States this quarter, up about 2 percent from the same time last year. HP led the market with about 25 percent of shipments.

“In terms of the major structural shift of the PC market, the U.S. market is ahead of other regions,” Kitagawa said.

“The U.S. PC market has been highly saturated with devices: 99 percent of households own at least one or more desktops or laptops, and more than half of them own both. While tablet penetration is expected to reach 50 percent in 2014, some consumer spending could return to PCs.”