PC Market Limps Across 2015 Finish Line

Last year saw the PC market continue its downward trend as it finished 2015 with the biggest decline in hardware shipment since 2008.

The PC market continued its protracted slide in 2015, ending the year with the biggest year-on-year shipment decline since 2008, research firm IDC reported Tuesday.

According to IDC, about 276 million PCs were shipped worldwide in 2015, the first year to miss the 300-million-mark since it began keeping track seven years ago. PC shipments fell by 10.4 percent in 2015 compared to 2014, the firm said.

This roughly jibes with the latest data from competing research firm Gartner Inc., which put the year-over-year PC shipment decline at an even 8 percent and total PC shipments at 289 million.

Not even the critical holiday shopping season could stem the tide. The top three PC manufacturers -- Lenovo, HP and Dell -- all experienced worldwide shipment declines in the fourth quarter. The outlier was Apple, which saw its shipments grow by nearly 3 percent in Q4 and about 6 percent in 2015 overall, according to both IDC and Gartner.

"Holiday sales did not boost the overall PC shipments, hinting at changes to consumers' PC purchase behavior. On the business side, Windows 10 generally received positive reviews, but as expected, Windows 10 migration was minor in the fourth quarter as many organizations were just starting their testing period," said Gartner principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa.

IDC also pointed to Microsoft's free Windows 10 upgrade offer for consumer Windows 7 and Windows 8.x users as a cause for delayed PC purchases.

However, both firms expect the PC market to gain some equilibrium in 2016 due in part to Windows 10, which IDC described as having greater "potential for a faster commercial transition" than previous Windows versions.

Windows 10 currently runs on about 200 million devices, Microsoft said earlier this month, noting that its rate of adoption outpaces that of Windows 7 and Windows 8. More than three-quarters of Microsoft's enterprise customers are running Windows 10 pilot programs, the company said.

"PC replacements should pick up again in 2016, particularly later in the year. Commercial adoption of Windows 10 is expected to accelerate, and consumer buying should also stabilize 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. We continue to believe that a majority of these users will purchase another PC, motivated by new products and attractive pricing," said Loren Loverde, vice president of IDC's Worldwide PC Tracker.

Gartner projects PC shipments to decline by just 1 percent year-over-year in 2016, with the possibility of a "soft recovery."

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for, and


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