Worldwide PC shipments declined for the eighth consecutive quarter, which is apparently the longest duration of decline in the history of PC industry, research firm Gartner said in a report. Shipments totaled to 68.9 million in Q3 2016, which is a 5.7% decline when compared to Q1 2015. Worldwide PC shipments declined by 9.6% y-o-y in Q1 2016; shipments also declined by 8.3% y-o-y in Q4 2015 and by 7.7% y-o-y in Q3 2015.
Gartner said that PC manufacturers faced several challenges like weak demand for back-to-school offers, low demand in the consumer market, especially in emerging markets. These markets include India, Indonesia, Iraq, Mongolia, Nigeria, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
“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,” Gartner said in its report.
Mature markets vs Emerging markets
Mature markets like US and China have shown signs of saturation and according to Gartner’s survey, a majority of consumers in the mature markets own at least 3 different types of devices. Among these devices, the PC is not a high priority device for a majority of consumers, so they rarely upgrade their PCs, and some may never decide to upgrade to a PC again, adds the research firm.
In emerging markets, consumers mainly depend on mobile devices like Phablets, and smartphones for being connected, over PCs, Gartner points out. This is reflected in shipments as well: During Q2 2016, India had 2.4 million PC unit shipments, registering a 7.2% growth. While the smartphone market in India shipped 27.5 million units in Q2 2016, registering a 17.1% q-o-q growth; the tablet industry in India in the same quarter witnessed a 14.4% q-o-q growth; and the Indian wearable industry grew by a significant 41.9% q-o-q.
Note that the Asia-Pacific PC shipments totaled at 24.7 million units in Q3 2016, which is a 7.6% decline y-o-y. In the US, PC shipments totaled at 16.2 million units during Q3 2016, registering a 0.3% decline y-o-y. This is the second consecutive quarter of flat y-o-y PC shipment growth in the US. PC shipments in EMEA (Middle East) surpassed 19.2 million units in Q3 2016, which is also a 3.3% y-o-y decline.
Shipments by vendors
The top six global vendors (see below) represented record high of 78% of PC shipments in the Q3 2016. Lenovo continues to be the worldwide market leader in PC shipments, while HP was shy of just 376 units to take the first spot worldwide. The biggest shipper Lenovo also witnessed the 6th consecutive decline in terms of both quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year shipment. However, other players like HP, Dell, and ASUS have recorded a growth in shipments.
Gartner classifies notebooks, two-in-one PCs and Windows tablets as “Mobile PCs”, which registered a low-single-digit y-o-y growth. Interestingly, shipment growth in Chromebooks have apparently surpassed PCs, according to Gartner. Premium device maker Apple witnessed a 13.4% q-o-q decline in this quarter. Note that Apple has not unveiled a new desktop PC since 2014; its last release was the 27-inch iMac with 5K display on October 2014.
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