According to research firms IDC (International Data Corporation) and Gartner, the PC market has encountered a severe drop in sales during the end of 2015. IDC estimated that PC shipments fell to a record-breaking 10.6%, while Gartner estimated it to be a 8.3% drop. Either way, the PC market is facing its biggest challenge yet and manufacturers are already feeling the pressure.
The company feeling the full force of the decline in global PC shipments is HP, with a growth rate in worldwide PC shipments of -10.1%. Other companies facing similar fates are Lenovo (-4.5%), Dell (-5.7%) and Asus (-0.8%). Surprisingly, Apple came out unscathed with a positive growth rate of 2.8%. Combined PC manufacturers worldwide that aren’t listed in the top five managed to rack up a -21.9% growth rate in Q4 2015.
One might ask: how can this happen? Basically, the decline in global PC shipments is due to low demands from consumers, which means that PC supply either decreases or remain abundant with no buyers. While supply and demand simplifies the global decline in PC shipment issue, it doesn’t tell the whole story. The other half comes from two other major factors.
As individual hardware becomes easily obtainable, consumers are now turning away from pre-built machines. According to analysts, buyers’ behaviour toward ready made computers are changing for the worse. This means that the majority of PCs today are either highly customisable or have a longer upgrade cycle.
According to IDC, the other major factor that may have caused the decline in PC shipments worldwide is Microsoft’s strategy. As of now, Microsoft has made Windows 10 available to its consumers for free until July this year. The number of Windows 10 installation shows that consumers are choosing to upgrade their old systems rather than buying a new one. This makes sense since the overall growth of PC shipments worldwide unfortunately does not reflect the vast number of Windows 10 installations.
Besides that, the emergence of better smartphones and tablets is driving consumers away from PCs. Whether or not global PC shipments will recover remains to be seen; 2016 is going to be a tough year for PC manufacturers.