Gartner, IDC: PC shipments off to a bad start in 2016

The PC market just can't seem to catch a break. After 2015 was practically declared the worst year for PC sales, it seems that 2016 might be even worse. At least if figures for the first quarter are omens of things to come. While differing slightly on specific numbers, both Gartner and IDC agree on one depressing thing: PC shipments have substantially declined last quarter compared to 2015's opening quarter. While both do see some hope near the end of the year, that salvation might come a bit too late for the ailing market.

According to Gartner's numbers, global PC shipments fell by 9.6% compared to the same period last year, down to 64.8 million units shipped. Not only is the the sixth consecutive quarter that PC shipments have declined but it also marks the first time since 2007 that shipments fell below 65 million units, making it an all time low. IDC's numbers are somewhat worse, as the decline is marked at 11.5% down to 60.6 million units shipped.

Various reasons are offered for this continued decline. A strong US dollar and an inventory buildup from the 2015 holidays both contributed to this situation. And as expected, smartphones are also to blame for the PC market's ongoing malaise. Almost all of the top 5 PC vendors lost shares last quarter. Almost, as Gartner shows that Apple is perhaps the only one to gain among its peers. Both market analysts put Lenovo, HP, and Dell as the top three PC vendors last quarter, in that order. But while Gartner puts Apple ahead of ASUS, IDC reverses their spots.

Gartner's numbers:

IDC's table:

But all hope might not be lost. Both Gartner and IDC actually predict there might be a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of Windows 10. It will only be this year that we will fully feel and see the effect of Windows 10 in the PC market, as customers, both consumers and enterprise, start buying new devices running the OS. That said, it won't be until much later this year before those results show up.

Curiously, the analysts seem to have left out one nascent computer category in their charts. While Gartner doesn't explicitly list what it considered as "PCs", IDC was more forthcoming, limiting the set to desktops, portables, ultrabooks, workstations and even Chromebooks. We presume neither included detachable 2-in-1 devices, which IDC predicts will have a huge impact in the market in the long run.

SOURCE: Gartner, IDC