For the eighth consecutive quarter, worldwide personal computer (PC) shipments have declined according to results by IT research firm Gartner. It totaled 68.9 million units in the third quarter of 2016, a 5.7 percent decline from the third quarter of 2015. The trend has come on the back of computer manufacturers facing many challenges, including weak demand in the consumer market, especially in emerging markets. This is the longest duration of decline in the PC industry’s history.
“There are two fundamental issues that have impacted PC market results: the extension of the lifetime of the PC caused by the excess of consumer devices, and weak PC consumer demand in emerging markets,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. “According to our 2016 personal technology survey, the majority of consumers own, and use, at least three different types of devices in mature markets. Among these devices, the PC is not a high priority device for the majority of consumers, so they do not feel the need to upgrade their PCs as often as they used to. Some may never decide to upgrade to a PC again.”
“With the spread of smartphones and mobile devices as well as the expansion of cloud technology, the drop in PC shipments can be explained,” remarked Shashank Dixit, CEO, Deskera, a global leader in Cloud-based business software.
The PC market continues to consolidate, as the top six vendors combined for a record high 78 percent of PC shipments in the third quarter of 2016. Lenovo continued to be the worldwide market leader based on preliminary PC shipments, with HP nearly tied for the top spot. Lenovo has recorded six consecutive quarters of year-over-year shipment declines, while the nearest competitors, HP and Dell, have recorded shipment growth since the second quarter of 2016.
“In emerging markets, PC penetration is low, but consumers are not keen to own PCs. Consumers in emerging markets primarily use smartphones or phablets for their computing needs, and they don’t find the need to use a PC as much as consumers in mature markets.”
Asia/Pacific PC shipments totaled 24.7 million units in the third quarter of 2016, a 7.6 percent decline from the third quarter of 2015. PC shipments in China are estimated to have declined 4.8 percent. Consumer sales in China were driven by notebook shipments, while the business market was driven by desktop PCs because of cost and computing effectiveness. In the United States, PC shipments totaled 16.2 million units in the third quarter, a 0.3 percent decline from the same period last year. This is the second consecutive quarter of flat year-over-year PC shipment growth.
“Mobile PCs, which include notebooks, two-in-one PCs and Windows tablets, showed low-single-digit year-over-year growth, but the overall results were offset by a decline of desktop shipments,” Ms. Kitagawa said.
PC shipments in Europe, Middle East, & Africa countries (EMEA) surpassed 19.2 million units in the third quarter of 2016, a 3.3 percent decline from the same period last year. The EMEA market’s decline was mainly associated with weak demand in Eastern Europe, Eurasia, and the Middle East and Africa. In the UK, Brexit had no immediate impact on PC sales.
Lenovo has continued to be the international leader in PC shipments with 20.9 percent share. It shipped 14,434 units in Q3 2016, a decline of 2.4 percent from the same quarter in 2015. HP was 0.5 per cent less than Lenovo’s numbers. It shipped 14,058 units in Q3 2016, accounting for the market share of 20.4 percent. HP registered a growth of 2.3 percent on its 2015 Q3 numbers. Both Dell and Asus saw growth of 2.6 and 2.4 percent, respectively. Dell remains third with market share of 14.1 percent whereas Asus gained 7.8 percent share internationally.