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PC shipments continue downward spiral for 4 successive years

Posted: 14 Jan 2016 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:PC? mobile phones? tablets? semiconductor industry?

For the fourth consecutive year, PC shipments around the world posted another decline in 2015, according to International Data Corp. (IDC) and Gartner. PCs used to be the most important market for the semiconductor industry.

Just 276.2 million PC units shipped in 2015, the first time since 2008 that the PC market did not break the 300 million unit mark, according to IDC. It was the fourth consecutive year of declining shipments for PCs.

Fourth quarter PC shipments totalled just 71.9 million units, a decline of 10.6 per cent compared with the fourth quarter of 2014, IDC said. The year-over-year decline was the largest in history, breaking the old mark of 9.8 per cent set in 2013, IDC said.

The PC market continued to face persistent challenges from longer-PC lifecycles and competition from mobile phones and tablets, despite the slowing growth in those markets. However, economic issues like falling commodity prices and weak international currencies, as well as social disruptions in EMEA and Asia/Pacific that disrupted foreign markets were a larger factor for 2015, according to the IDC release.

Changes in the OS market also had a significant impact with the end of support for Windows XP and promotions of low-cost PCs driving a surge in replacements in 2014 that combined with the launch of Windows 10 and a free upgrade program to delay new system purchases in 2015. Lastly, while some very attractive new PCs have been launched, the market is taking some time to respond to new OS and hardware configurations C deciding when to upgrade and evaluating slim, convertible, detachable and touch variations versus more traditional PCs.

Nevertheless, many of these products have received positive reviews and there's potential for a faster commercial transition to Windows 10 in 2016 than we saw for prior versions of Windows.

"The PC market remains competitive and the economic environment weakened further with the recent drop in the Chinese stock market," said Loren Loverde, vice president of IDC's Worldwide PC Tracker service, in a statement.

PC shipments

Loverde expects PC replacements to pick up in 2016, especially later in the year. Loverde said commercial adoption of Windows 10 is expected to accelerate and consumer buying should also stabilise by the second half of the year.

"Most PC users have delayed an upgrade but can only maintain this for so long before facing security and performance issues," Loverde said. "We continue to believe that a majority of these users will purchase another PC, motivated by new products and attractive pricing."

Gartner Inc., a market research firm and competitor to IDC, said fourth quarter PC shipments totalled 75.7 million units in the fourth quarter, an 8.3-per cent decline from the fourth quarter of 2014. Gartner, which counts PC shipments slightly differently from IDC, estimates that 288.7 million PCs shipped in 2015, down 8 per cent from 2014.

- Dylan McGrath
??EE Times U.S.

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