Worldwide PC Sales Fall Again, But Less Than Expected

Does PC shipment growth of of 5% in the United States foreshadow a brighter future?
Christopher HosfordJuly 12, 2016
Worldwide PC Sales Fall Again, But Less Than Expected

Shipments of personal computers worldwide fell for the seventh straight quarter as consumers increasingly relied on tablets and smart phones and companies delayed hardware replacements. Worldwide PC shipments totaled 62.4 million units in the second quarter of 2016, a year-on-year decline of 4.5%, according to a report by International Data Corp.

While a falloff in PC shipments was anticipated, the decline was less than the -7.4% previously forecast due to improved channel inventory and an easing of component supplies, IDC said. But because consumer purchases fall outside these supply-wide factors, the research firm forecasts falling PC shipments for the rest of the year.

“The PC market continues to struggle as we wait for replacements to accelerate, along with some return of spending from phones, tablets, and other IT,” said Loren Loverde, vice president of IDC’s worldwide PC trackers & forecasting. He noted pockets of growth — in particular in the United States, which defied international trends with a 5% increase in PC shipments year over year — that “could push the market into positive territory slightly ahead of our forecast for 2018.”

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Lenovo remained the world’s largest shipper of PCs, funneling 13.2 million units to the market in the second quarter, for a 21.2% share. Rounding out the top five were, in order, HP, Dell, ASUS, and Apple. Only HP grew its worldwide shipments, by 11.5% to 13 million units.

ASUS pulled ahead of Apple for the number four spot, as Apple contends with an increasingly competitive market and awaits a refresh of its Macintosh lineup.

Meanwhile, consultancy Gartner released its own report on PC shipments, showing an even worse decline year-over-year of 5.2%. Gartner attributed lower shipments outside the United States to currency woes.

“One of the ongoing problems in the PC market has been the price hike in selected regions due to the weakening local currency against the U.S. dollar,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. “The price issue has impacted the EMEA and Latin America regions for the past year.”

However, Kitagawa said that the relatively modest decline in shipments in the second quarter “suggests a fading currency impact.”