The PC market suffered its sharpest decline in the second quarter of this year, plummeting 9.5pc on last year, according to Gartner. This was the steepest decline in two years and occurs just ahead of the launch of Windows 10 on 29 July.
Microsoft has set a target of converting 1.5bn devices to its new operating system within two to three years. Perhaps the operating system couldn’t arrive fast enough for the once stalwart PC market.
Contributors to the decline of PC shipments include currency hikes, the end of Windows XP support, and efforts by PC vendors to clear inventory ahead of the Windows 10 launch.
Gartner principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa said these are temporary factors and expects the market to go back to slow and steady growth in 2016.
“The price hike of PCs became more apparent in some regions due to a sharp appreciation of the US dollar against local currencies,” Kitagawa said.
“The price hike could hinder PC demand in these regions. Secondly, the worldwide PC market experienced unusually positive desk-based growth last year due to the end of Windows XP support. After the XP impact was phased out, there have not been any major growth drivers to stimulate a PC refresh.
“Lastly, the Windows 10 launch scheduled for 3Q15 has created self-regulated inventory control. PC vendors and the channels tried clearing inventory as much as possible before the Windows 10 launch.”
The thinner slice of the PC wedge is currently winning
Lenovo maintained the top position in worldwide PC shipments in the second quarter of 2015, but the company suffered a year-on-year shipment decline for the first time since the second quarter of 2013. EMEA, Latin America and Japan were tough regions for Lenovo, as the company experienced double-digit shipment declines.
HP also experienced a shipment decline after five consecutive quarters of PC shipment growth. HP showed a steep decline in EMEA, which was potentially due to the currency impact.
The company was also impacted by tight inventory controls in the consumer market before the Windows 10 launch.
Dell’s decline was relatively moderate in EMEA compared with Lenovo and HP. Analysts said this could be partly attributed to Dell’s lower presence in the consumer market, which created less impact on Dell from the Windows 10 prelaunch inventory control.
“The weakness of desk-based PC shipments in the second quarter of 2015 is partly due to relatively large shipments in the second quarter last year when the market was driven by the end of XP support,” Kitagawa said.
“Despite inventory controls for the Windows 10 launch, mobile PC shipments grew in the quarter, which resulted in five consecutive quarters of mobile PC growth in the US. Affordable thin/light notebooks are attracting more business buyers.”