According to the International Data Corporation (IDC ) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, PC shipments totaled 71.9 million units in the fourth quarter of 2015 (4Q15), a year-on-year decline of -10.6%.
Year 2015, though total shipments were in line with expectations, ended as the first year below 300 million units since 2008. Also the year-on-year decline in 2015 shipments was the largest in history, surpassing the decline of -9.8% in 2013.
Despite the slowing growth of mobile phones and tablets, the PC market continued to face competition and challenges from longer-PC lifecycles. However, falling commodity prices and weak international currencies were a larger factor for 2015.
Lastly, as new PCs have been launched with slim, convertible, detachable, and touch variations vs. more traditional PCs, the market is taking some time to respond to new OS and hardware configurations and deciding when to upgrade. Nevertheless, the positive reviews many of these new products have received may build a potential trend for a faster commercial transition to Windows 10 in 2016 than we saw for prior versions of Windows.
The PC market remains competitive and the economic environment weakened further with the recent drop in the Chinese stock market – said Loren Loverde, IDC Vice President, Worldwide PC Tracker. However, PC replacements should pick up again in 2016, particularly later in the year. Commercial adoption of Windows 10 is expected to accelerate, and consumer buying should also stabilize by the second half of the year. Most PC users have delayed an upgrade, but can only maintain this for so long before facing security and performance issues. We continue to believe that a majority of these users will purchase another PC, motivated by new products and attractive pricing.
As in 2015 Apple emerged as a top 5 PC vendor, innovative products and usability may match the user demand even with premium-priced systems. Jay Chou , Research Manager, IDC Worldwide PC Tracker, commented:
Consumer sentiment toward PCs remains a challenge, though clearly there are pockets of growth. Even as mainstream desktop and notebooks see their lifetimes stretched ever longer, Apple’s emergence as a top 5 global PC vendor in 2015 shows that there can be strong demand for innovative, even premium-priced systems that put user experience first.
Detachable tablets, which are counted separately from PCs, are growing quickly but from a small base. The impact for 2016 will be larger as detachable tablet volume grows.
United States – HP retained is still leader in the U.S. PC market with a 28.1% share, while Dell held the second position with a 23.9% share. Apple leveraged the consumer-heavy holiday season to retake third place with a 12.7% share. Lenovo, with a 21.3% year-over-year growth, by far the strongest growth rate of all vendors, continued its aggressive growth trend. This quarter also saw a new entrant into the top five: ASUS rode 11.0% year-over-year growth to a 7.1% share to overtake Toshiba and Acer.
Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) – EMEA saw another quarter of double-digit year-over-year decline in PC shipments, as vendors remained engaged in clearing out the older inventories of Windows 8. The launch of new products with Windows 10 during the holiday season did not reverse the negative trend. The late availability of PCs based on Skylake architecture delayed some purchases while IT budgets suffered from economic instability and currency volatility.