Global PC sales continue to fall but Apple beats the trend
Worldwide PC shipments totaled 75.7 million units in the fourth quarter of 2015, a 8.3 percent decline from the fourth quarter of 2014, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. For the year, 2015 PC shipments totaled 288.7 million units, an 8 percent decline from 2014.
“The fourth quarter of 2015 marked the fifth consecutive quarter of worldwide PC shipment decline,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. “Holiday sales did not boost the overall PC shipments, hinting at changes to consumers’ PC purchase behavior. On the business side, Windows 10 generally received positive reviews, but as expected, Windows 10 migration was minor in the fourth quarter as many organizations were just starting their testing period.”
“All regions registered a decrease in shipments. Currency devaluation issues continued to impact EMEA, Latin America and Japan,” Kitagawa said. “Collectively EMEA, Japan and Latin America saw their markets reduced by nearly 10 percent in 2015.”
Gartner’s outlook for PC shipments in 2016 is for a decline of 1 percent compared with 2015, with the potential for a soft recovery in late 2016. Kitagawa said the PC market is still in the middle of structural change which will reduce the PC installed base in the next few years.
In the fourth quarter of 2015, Lenovo registered a worldwide PC shipment decline for the third consecutive quarter. However, Lenovo declined less than the industry average, and it extended its lead in the market. Lenovo accounted for 20.3 percent of worldwide PC shipments in the fourth quarter of 2015 (see Table 1). Lenovo did particularly well in North America to offset shipment declines in EMEA, Latin America and Japan
HP’s fourth quarter PC shipments declined in the worldwide market and across all regions. The decline in the regions were mostly the same or better than the regional average except for the U.S. market. The steep decline in the U.S. market was in part because of unusually high shipment volume in the fourth quarter of 2014, led by low-priced Bing notebooks targeting holiday sales.
Dell’s PC shipments declined across all regions except Japan where the company grew by single digits compared to the fourth quarter of 2014. Although Dell’s shipments declined in EMEA and the U.S., Dell declined less than the regional averages.
In the U.S., PC shipments totaled 16.9 million units in the fourth quarter of 2015, a 3.1 percent decline from the fourth quarter of 2014 (see Table 2). Despite an 8.4 percent decline in shipments, HP maintained the No. 1 position in the U.S., accounting for 27.1 percent of PC shipments in the fourth quarter of 2015. Dell continued to be the number 2 vendor in the U.S., as its shipments declined less than the industry average.
“Holiday sales had a limited impact on PC sales in the U.S. market,” Kitagawa said. “Notebooks were off the top wish list of holiday gifts. Unlike 2014 holiday sales, there were not many holiday mega deals for laptops, especially in value segments. At the same time, consumers’ interest shifted to other consumer electronics devices such as TV’s and wearables. “
PC shipments in EMEA totaled 22.5 million units in the fourth quarter of 2015, a decline of 16 percent year-over-year. In Western Europe, some countries, such as the UK, showed solid Windows 10 promotions during the holiday season, and shipments in the French market remained good. Overall high inventory levels plagued Western Europe. In Eastern Europe, the PC market experienced modest growth in low-single digits, driven by consumer demand for new hybrid devices and PC replacements to move to Windows 10.
The Asia/Pacific PC market reached 26 million units in the fourth quarter of 2015, a 1.5 percent decline from the fourth quarter of 2014. Buyers did not rush to replace with newer PC models with Windows 10. PC vendors looked for profitability over shipment volume, focusing on segments such as gaming PCs; bundling of desktops with large monitor screens and ultramobile device models. Preliminary results indicate that the China PC market declined 4.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015 compared with a year ago.
For the year, worldwide PC shipments declined for the fourth consecutive year, which started in 2012 with the launch of tablets. “In 2015, local currency devaluation also played a key role in the market conditions,” Kitagawa said. “EMEA, Latin America and Japan faced a major impact from the devaluation, showing double-digit declines in 2015. In contrast, the U.S. and Asia/Pacific experienced minor declines of almost flat to low single-digit declines as the currency issue did not affect these regions.”
The top six vendor accounted for more of the overall PC market in 2015. These vendors accounted for 73.1 percent of shipments in 2015, up from 70.4 percent of shipments in 2014 (see Table 3). Lenovo maintained the number one position, accounting for 19.8 percent of PC shipments, followed by HP with 18.2 percent market share. Dell rounded out the top three vendors, accounting for 13.6 percent of shipments.
Big manufacturers like Lenovo, HP and Dell still sell far more computers than Apple. Still,analysts say Apple benefits from its reputation as a premium brand in the United States and Europe. It’s also been making inroads in Asia. Kitagawa noted that Apple has been opening retail stores in China, which is now the second-largest PC market in the world.