PC shipments slump for fourth year, soft recovery seen in 2016


Gartner principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa

KUALA LUMPUR: Global shipments of personal computers (PCs) fell 8% to 288.73 million units in 2015 from a year ago and Gartner Inc is cautiously optimistic about a soft recovery in 2016.

The global IT research and advisory company said on Thursday the decline from 313.68 million units a year ago was 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,” said Gartner principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa.

Lenovo maintained the number one position, accounting for 19.8% of PC shipments (compared with 18.8% in 2014), followed by HP with 18.2% market share. Dell accounted for 13.6% of shipments.

Except for Apple, all the major PC vendors recorded a decline in 2015 from a year ago. 

Lenovo shipped 57.12 million units in 2015, down 3.1% from the 58.95 million PCs a year ago. Second was HP at 52.55 million units, down 4.4% from 54.99 million a year ago.

 In third spot was Dell, which recorded shipments of 39.16 million, down 3.3% from RM40.49 million units.

Asus shipped 21.19 million PCs, down 6.5% from the 22.67 million a year ago while Apple shipped 20.74 million units, up 5.8% fron the 19.59 million PCs.

Acer record the biggest decline to 20.34 million PCs in 2015 or a fall of 15.3% from 24.01 million a year ago.

The top six vendors accounted for more of the overall PC market in 2015. These vendors accounted for 73.1% of shipments in 2015, up from 70.4% of shipments in 2014.

In the fourth quarter of 2015, Gartner said shipments for the Asia Pacific PC market reached 26 million units, down 1.5% on-year.

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 75.7 million units, down 8.3% on-year, according to its preliminary results, which was the  fifth consecutive quarter of worldwide PC shipment decline. 

“EMEA, Latin America and Japan faced a major impact from the devaluation, showing double-digit declines in 2015. In contrast, the US and Asia/Pacific experienced minor declines of almost flat to low single-digit declines as the currency issue did not affect these regions.” 

“Holiday sales did not boost the overall PC shipments, hinting at changes to consumers’ PC purchase behavior,” said Kitagawa.

On the business side, Windows 10 generally received positive reviews, but as expected, Windows 10 migration was minor in the fourth quarter as many organisations 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% in 2015.”

For 2016, she forecast a 1% fall from last year, “with the potential for a soft recovery in late 2016”. 

She pointed out the PC market was still in the middle of structural change which will reduce the PC installed base in the next few years. 

In Q4, 2015 Lenovo’s worldwide PC shipment fell for the third consecutive quarter to 15.38mil units, down 4.2% from the 16.06mil a year ago. Its 

However, Lenovo declined less than the industry average, and it extended its lead in the market. Lenovo accounted for 20.3% of worldwide PC shipments in the Q4, 2015. 

This was because 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 to 14.20 million units, down 8.1% on-year from 15.45mil in Q4, 2014. Its market share was slightly higher at 18.8% from 18.7%.

Dell shipped 10.23 million PCs, down 5.1% from 10.78 million a year ago and its market share was slightly higher at 12.5% from 13.1% a year ago.

Asus recorded a 3.2% decline in shipments to 6.00 million units from 6.20 million PCs a year ago.

However, Apple saw a 2.8% increase to 5.67 million units from 5.52mil a year ago.

Acer Group’s shipment of 5.27 million units saw its on-year sales fall 11.2% in Q4, 2015 from 5.94 million a year ago.

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 US. Dell declined less than the regional averages.

 In the U.S., PC shipments totaled 16.9 million units in Q4, 2015, a 3.1 percent decline from a year ago.

Despite an 8.4% fall in shipments, HP maintained the No. 1 position in the US. It accounted for 27.1% of PC shipments in the Q4, 2015.


Dell continued to be the number 2 vendor in the US, 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. “ 

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