Holiday sales didn't help PC shipments as slump continues, says Gartner

UPDATE: IDC followed with its own results, concurring on significant drops but painting a much more dramatic -- and dire -- reality for the global PC industry.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

Not all was merry and bright for the PC market at the end of 2015, based on the latest report from Gartner.

According to the market research firm, approximately 75.7 million PC units shipped worldwide during the fourth quarter of 2015 -- an 8.3 percent drop from the same quarter the previous year.

"Holiday sales had a limited impact on PC sales in the U.S. market," wrote Gartner principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa, in Tuesday's report. "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."

Gartner classifies PC results to span desk-based PCs, notebook PCs, and ultramobile premium devices.

Kitagawa added in her analysis that "notebooks were off the top wish list of holiday gifts."

For 2015 overall, global shipments totaled 288.7 million units, representing a decline of roughly eight percent year-over-year as well.

Similar to what tech industry followers have seen on corporate earnings reports over the last year, Gartner analysts attributed part of the problem to currency devaluations compared to a stronger U.S. Dollar.

Pointing out that this was also the fifth consecutive quarter for the global PC slump, Kitagawa noted in the report that the currency shifts particularly affected shipments in Japan as well as markets across Latin America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

"Holiday sales did not boost the overall PC shipments, hinting at changes to consumers' PC purchase behavior," Kitagawa wrote. "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."

Nevertheless, although Gartner still posted a negative outlook for PC shipments over the course of 2016 -- a continued decline at one percent -- analysts suggested there could be signs of recovery by the end of the year.


Looking closer at the vendor leaderboard, Lenovo remains at the top with 20.3 percent of the pie despite seeing its PC shipments decline worldwide for the third straight quarter. Gartner underscored better results in North America, which offset declines across the EMEA region, Latin America and Japan.

Stateside, Hewlett-Packard continues to lead even amid the corporate split at the beginning of November as domestic shipments totaled 16.9 million units, a 3.1 percent decline annually.

HP was trailed by Dell, Apple, Lenovo and Asus, respectively.

UPDATE: IDC followed with its own estimated results, also revealing a year-over-year decline -- albeit a slightly steeper dive at 10.6 percent.

While IDC analysts highlighted the holiday quarter was notably better than the preceding third quarter for global shipments, the aforementioned 10.3 percent drop was the largest annual decline in history, besting the 9.3 percent decline in 2013.

Overall, IDC pegged 2015 as the first year to witness less than 300 million units shipped globally since 2008.

Charts via Gartner

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