Last year was tough for the PC, and Windows 10 didn't help much

Shipments of traditional PCs in EMEA slid by six percent last year, but while desktop sales tumble, businesses are still buying notebooks.


Desktops are falling out of fashion.

Image: iStock

Last year was another grim period for the PC, with shipments falling by six percent in Europe -- and Windows 10 not doing much to help.

According to IDC, just under 72 million PCs were shipped into the channel or to end users across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) in 2016, down from 76 million in 2015.

"Throughout the year, notebooks outperformed the desktop market thanks to strong demand in the commercial space. Windows 10 did not drive extensive renewals in 2016," IDC said.

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That's perhaps no surprise. For many PC owners, Windows 10 was a free upgrade so even those who may have been willing to splash out on new PC hardware to get the operating system didn't need to do so immediately.

However, it isn't all grim news: IDC said PC shipments in EMEA did hold steady in the last quarter of the year -- that is, a decline of merely 0.2 year-on-year -- with notebooks performing well and growing by 2.9 percent.


This strong demand was triggered by business users, which grew demand by 10.1 percent in Western Europe and 1.2 percent in Central and Eastern Europe. Consumer notebook demand was positive in Central and Eastern Europe, while Western Europe was stronger than expected by IDC -- but still contracted by 2.4 percent.

Desktops continued to fall, posting an overall 6.9 percent decline in EMEA due to weak consumer demand. IDC said ultra-slim devices targeting enterprise mobility needs, as well as attractive Chromebooks offerings, especially in the education sector during the back-to-school season, led to strong demand for notebooks in the latter half of the year.

Both consumers and businesses took advantage of end-of-year promotions to stock up ahead of price rises expected this year.

In the fourth quarter of 2016 the Western European market appeared very fragmented, and IDC noted: "As the pound has become a turbulent currency following Brexit in the UK, the British traditional PC market was impacted negatively."

The PC market continues to consolidate, too: the top five vendors accounted for 76.8 percent of the total market volume versus 72.5 percent in the year-ago quarter as is shown in the chart above.

IDC's figures cover what it describes as 'traditional PCs' which include desktops, notebooks, and workstations and do not include tablets or two-in-one devices.

Read more about desktop computer sales