Wednesday, 13 April 2016 15:00

PC market suffers huge decline in shipments as currency shifts take toll Featured


Worldwide PC shipments have declined for six consecutive quarters, with shipment volumes of 64.8 million in the first quarter this year the lowest since 2007.  Amidst the gloom and doom - and despite a 7.2% decline in its shipments - China vendor Lenovo still maintained number one position globally.

The report from Gartner shows worldwide PC shipments declining 9.6% in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the same quarter last year, with the analyst firm attributing the deterioration of local currencies against the US dollar continuing to playing a major role in PC shipment declines.

Principal analyst at Gartner, Mikako Kitagawa, says the firm’s early results also show there was an inventory build-up from holiday sales in the fourth quarter of 2015."

In the Asia Pacific region, including Australia, PC shipments reached 23.3 million units in the first quarter of 2016, a 5.1% decline from the first quarter of 2015, with Gartner observing that the ongoing fragile Chinese economy and weak global demand continued to dampen consumer sentiment in the region.

“With high PC penetration in the major cities, it was a challenge to invoke PC replacements on the appeal of new technology. The PC life cycle is lengthening as many consumers are waiting until their PC breaks down before purchasing a new one,” Gartner says of the APAC region.

"All major regions showed year-over-year shipment declines, with Latin America showing the steepest drop, where PC shipments declined 32.4%,” Kitagawa said.

“The Latin American PC market was intensely impacted by Brazil, where the problematic economy and political instability adversely affected the market. The ongoing decline in US PC shipments showed that the installed base is still shrinking, a factor that played across developed economies. Low oil prices drove economic contraction in Latin America and Russia, changing them from drivers of growth to market laggards."

And, Gartner analysts also report that PCs are not being adopted in new households as they were in the past, especially in emerging markets. In these markets, smartphones are the priority, while in the business segment, the Windows 10 refresh is expected to start toward the end of 2016.

Even though Lenovo maintained its No 1 position over all other vendors, the vendor experienced a shipment decline in all regions except North America, where the company's PC units increased 14.6% from the same period last year. In the last four quarters, Lenovo has showed double-digit shipment growth in the US, while the overall market has declined Gartner reports.

For HP, which was split into Hewlett Packard Enterprise and HP Inc. at the end of 2015, Gartner says HP Inc.'s first quarter indicates “the challenges the company faces in the PC market”.  “HP Inc. has said it wants to stay away from low-profit segments, and the first quarter of 2016 results reflect its efforts to emphasise high-end sales, which cost it shipments,” Gartner observes.

For another big PC vendor, Dell, worldwide PC shipments declined 0.4% in the first quarter of 2016, which Gartner says was much better than the global industry average. Dell shipments increased in North America and Japan, but shipments declined in EMEA, Asia/Pacific and Latin America.

In the US market, PC shipments totalled 13.1 million units in the first quarter of 2016, a 6.6% decline from the first quarter of 2015, with the country’s PC shipment volumes the lowest in three years. "Vendors that had a strong consumer focus struggled to increase sell in shipments," Kitagawa said.

"There was no particular motivation for US consumers to purchase PCs in the first quarter of 2016. There have been increased sales of two-in-one PCs, but not enough to offset the decline in desktop and traditional notebook sales."

In the US market, Dell surpassed HP Inc. to become the No. 1 vendor in the country based on shipments.

Gartner’s report shows that Dell's PC shipments grew 3.1% in the US, while HP Inc.'s shipments declined 17.3%, and with Dell benefited from focusing on the business segment instead of the consumer market.

PC shipments in the EMEA markets totalled 19.5 million units in the first quarter of 2016, a decline of 10% year over year.

Gartner says that in Western Europe, consumer demand remained stable in Germany and the UK, while in France the PC segment was impacted by the transition to high-definition TV.

And, according to Gartner, European consumers preferred to buy new TVs or a specific box for the TV reception, whole in the business segment, large organisations are testing and evaluating Windows 10, and “major deployment will start at the end of 2016”.

Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 1Q16 (Thousands of Units):


1Q16 Shipments

1Q16 Market Share (%)

1Q15 Shipments

1Q15 Market Share (%)

1Q16-1Q15 Growth (%)







HP Inc.




































Notes: Data includes desk-based PCs, notebook PCs and ultramobile premium. All data is estimated based on a preliminary study. Final estimates will be subject to change. The statistics are based on shipments selling into channels.
Source: Gartner (April 2016)


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).



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