Windows 10 and two-in-one devices aren't saving the PC market

PC sales dive again as device makers struggle to persuade businesses and consumers to upgrade.

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Gartner's worldwide PC sales figures show a grim trend, and its EMEA data tells a similar story.

Image: ZDNet, Data source: Gartner

Growth in two-in-one PCs has not been enough to offset the latest slump in PC sales across Europe.

PC shipments in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) totalled 19.5 million units in the first quarter of 2016 -- a 10 percent decline from the first quarter of 2015 -- according to research by analyst firm Gartner.

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Sales of desktops and notebooks declined as business buyers continued to evaluate Windows 10 and delayed major deployments until the end of 2016, said Isabelle Durand, principal analyst at Gartner.

The analyst firm said there was continued growth in demand for thin-and-light notebooks with detachable keyboards, both for business users and consumers. The gaming notebook segment also witnessed growth in developed European markets, but neither of these bright spots was enough to offset the "steep decline" in the professional PC segment.

While the decline in the EMEA PC market is of a similar scale to the worldwide 9.6 percent slide (see chart above), there are some local nuances.

In France, consumer spending was more focused on high-definition TVs than on PCs, while economic challenges in Russia and Ukraine hit PC demand in Eastern Europe, and drops in oil prices affected economic stability in the Middle East.

"These various trends in major Western European markets reveal that vendors are failing to give consumers and businesses a compelling reason to upgrade their existing PC hardware," said Durand.

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Data includes desk-based PCs, notebook PCs and ultramobile premium devices, based on shipments selling into channels.

Image: Gartner

The tough times for PC sellers will continue in the second quarter, Durand said: "The structure of the devices market and user purchasing behaviour has fundamentally changed the dynamics of the PC market."

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