PC sales plunge further, as Windows 10 and Skylake CPUs fail to inspire upgrades

Gartner: "There was no particular motivation for U.S. consumers to purchase PCs in the first quarter of 2016."

Analyst firms IDC and Gartner have both announced that the PC market is continuing to sharply decline, as unit sales plunged between 10 and 12 per cent during the first quarter 2016. Of note, however, was Dell’s resurgence as the top US PC vendor, after HP split into two business units.

IDC reported that PC sales fell 11.5 per cent to 60.6 million units during the first quarter, while Gartner said that sales fell by 9.6 per cent to 64.8 million units - dropping below the number of PCs sold during 2007. “There was no particular motivation for U.S. consumers to purchase PCs in the first quarter of 2016,” said Mikako Kitagawa, the principal PC analyst at Gartner, in a statement.

As bad as it was, both firms reported that sales were in line with expectations. The two firms reported that a number of factors impeded sales: a lull before Windows 10 upgrades in the enterprise take place, a deterioration in foreign currencies, weak consumer demand, and a holdover of aging PC inventory that simply wasn’t purchased during the fourth quarter.

gartner ww pc sales q1 2016 Gartner

Gartner’s estimates of worldwide PC sales for the first quarter of 2016.

Analysts hope that at least some of those factors will vanish in the coming months. “With some IT buyers thinking about early Windows 10 transitions and with the potential continued ascent of Chromebooks in U.S. K-12, the PC market should experience a modest rebound in the coming months,” IDC’s Linn Huang, the research director covering devices and displays, said in a statement.

Why this matters: The most damning statement is that consumers had “no particular motivation” to buy a PC during the fourth quarter. That was when hardware vendors were pushing PCs running Intel's new “Skylake” CPUs and Microsoft's new Windows 10. The entire argument behind these new machines was that aging, five-year-old systems should be replaced. Consumers didn't buy that argument, nor did they buy as many PCs as vendors hoped.

Lenovo leads worldwide, but not in the U.S.

Worldwide, Lenovo remained the top PC vendor, though its shipments dropped 7.2 per cent to 12.5 million units. The only vendors that showed any signs of life were Asus and Apple - though IDC and Gartner ranked each differently: Gartner said Apple finished fifth, with 4.6 million units, while IDC ranked Apple fourth, with 4.5 million PCs sold.

gartner us pc sales q1 2016 Gartner

The story for the U.S. market is how HP slipped out of first place.

Within the United States, Lenovo showed enormous growth: an almost unheard-of 21 per cent increase in PC shipments from 2015 to 2016. According to IDC’s data, that propelled Lenovo into the third spot in US shipments, just above Apple.

That, and the fall of HP Inc., were the stories of the fourth quarter. HP, navigating through its split with the enterprise side of the business, saw PC sales fall 14.1 per cent according to IDC (or a drop of 17.3 per cent, according to Gartner), pushing it from first to second in U.S. PC sales. HP sold 3.1 million PCs, according to Gartner, compared to 3.5 million for Dell, which saw modest growth of between 3 to 4 per cent.

idc q1 2015 ww sales IDC

IDC placed Apple over Asus in first quarter 2016 U.S. PC sales.

“Vendors that had a strong consumer focus struggled to increase sell-in shipments,” Gartner’s Kitagawa said. Stronger sales of two-in-one PCs didn’t offset the decline in overall shipments, she said.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags HPDellApplePC

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mark Hachman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?